The Art of David Jones - Vision and Memory challenges the simplistic view of David Jones (1895-1974) as an outsider or an eccentric and instead explores his work in relation to the wider cultural and intellectual climate of his times.
The authors focus on works of outstanding quality, including engravings from the 1920s, watercolours from 1926-32 and the most significant of Jones’ later mythological drawings as well as his studies of trees and chalices and his unique painted inscriptions. Analysis of his technical virtuosity in diverse media enlarges our understanding of the highly original visual language and the symbolism that sustains it. The book also explores the relation of Jones’ art to his Christian faith and his understanding of place and history.
Copiously illustrated, The Art of David Jones not only offers fresh insights into the career of a multi-talented British artist, but also adds to our understanding of the art and cultural history of Britain from the First World War through to the 1960s.
The foreword to the book by the authors
It is now 40 years since the death of David Jones. While the centenary of the First World War refocused interest on his poetry, and on “In Parenthesis" in particular, we believe that the time is ripe to look with a fresh eye at his achievements as a visual artist. For someone who suffered for much of his later life from nervous illness, his oeuvre is impressively large and extraordinarily varied in character. In a monograph such as this we have had to be selective, so we have chosen to focus on those works that reflect the very best of his creative capabilities and come closest to fulfilling his artistic aims.
And what were those aims? It would take a much longer book than this to encompass fully Jones’ theory of culture, the depth of his erudition and the subtlety of his artistic expression in diverse media. Our goal has been to provide an accessible introduction to the work of a complex artist. So We have confined ourselves to exploring the key themes and chief sources of his inspiration, both artistic and intellectual; likewise we have concentrated on y the main events of his life as an essential biographical framework.
While this has been in every way a collaboration, we bring different perspectives to the writing of this book. Paul Hills (co-author) knew David Jones in the last years of his life, and curated the retrospective exhibition at Tate Britain in 1981. Ariane Bankes has developed a lasting admiration for the work into a deeper exploration of it in recent years. We have divided the chapters between us, Paul writing Chapters 2, 5, 6, 7 and 9, while Ariane has written Chapters 1, 3, 4 and 8.
Our goal is to establish the significance of David Jones as one of the most original artists working in mid-twentieth-century Britain: respected contemporary of Ben Nicholson and Henry Moore; admired by critics and patrons of the calibre of Kenneth Clark and Helen Sutherland; and source of inspiration to artists, engravers and calligraphers since. Both of us have been struck by how Jones' analysis of the place of the artist in society has contemporary relevance, and how many of his preoccupations play out in the work of artists today. We hope to introduce a new generation to his singular vision and the aesthetic delight of his work.
This is a fabulous book! I find myself addicted to looking at David Jones’ paintings. At first glance they often look an incomprehensible page full of marks of a similar colour and similar stroke widths. But, the more you look at them, the more you see, and the more you get drawn into the creative world of David Jones. There are also over 10 examples of his amazing lettering.
Chapters include: Foreword, Coming of Age, Engraver of Signs, Tutelar of Place, Artist in the City, Watercolour Vision. Rediscovering the Masters, From Ritual to Romance, Arbor and Calix and Word as Image.
1st edition, 2015, hardback, 176pp, over 150 example of Jones’ stunning pieces, 23.6 x 27.8cm