Ian Godfrey was born in 1942 in London. From 1957 to 1962 he attended the Camberwell College of Arts (then known as the Camberwell School of Art and Crafts) and studied first painting and then pottery under Dick Kendall, Ian Auld, Hans Coper and Lucie Rie who was particularly impressed by him.
In 1962 he set up his first workshop in the City Road, Islington, North London. He put in part-time work as a teacher at Camberwell and in 1967 gained a research fellowship from the Royal College of Art where he continued his potting. His work was attracting attention and he was called upon to give exhibitions in London. He didn't enjoy attending the exhibitions, and took himself off to work with Hans Jorgen Grum in Copenhagen. On his return to England in the early 1980s he set up a studio in Highgate, London.
His very distinctive style owed much to mediterranean, near-eastern and oriental influences. Most of his work was thrown and then worked upon with a penknife and the point of a ball-point pen, and finished with a clear matt glaze. The designs tended towards the mystic and often portrayed animals and houses or other architectural forms. He did not mark his work, but it was hardly necessary as it is instantly recognizable.
Ian died young in 1992 leaving a legacy of work in many public collections around the world including the Victoria and Albert Museum.