His father Maurice was an established professional painter in the close orbit of Munnings and Augustus John, there appears that there was little doubt as to where the young John’s future lay. He graduated from Regent Street Polytechnic School of Art in the early 1930s, into a world of graphic illustration and commercial advertising. Shortly before the war he moved to Bristol, quickly becoming involved with the ‘Bristol Savages’ a well-known local art society whose membership refer to themselves as the ‘Tribe’. During the war he was selected for creative duty with the Middle East Command Camouflage Directorate. Led by the film director Geoffrey Barkas, the unit’s endeavours famously contributed significantly to Montgomery’s ultimate success at El Alamein. Post-war Codner took a teaching position at the Sir John Cass School of Art in London from 1947 until 1951, but always maintained his connections with Bristol. He was elected member of the Royal West of England Academy in 1947.