DAVID JONES (British / 1895-1974)

David Jones was born in Brockley, Kent. His surviving childhood drawings show the essentials of his style already formed by the age of seven. From 1910-1914 David Jones studied under A. S. Hartrick at Camberwell School of Art. In WWI he served in the Royal Welch Fusiliers, an experience captured in his book-length poem In Parenthesis. In 1921 David Jones was received into the Roman Catholic Church, and went to live with Eric Gill and his family; in 1924 Jones became engaged to Gill’s daughter Petra, though the engagement was broken off in 1927 and David Jones never married. He was a member of the Seven and Five Society along with Ben and Winifred Nicholson, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Christopher Wood and John Piper. With T. S. Eliot as his publisher at Faber & Faber, Jones as painter and poet was at the epicentre of English artistic and literary life, yet his withdrawn and self-absorbed character makes him seem an oddly marginalised figure. His engravings on copper and wood were all done in the 1920s, before eye-trouble forced him to give up. Our prints by David Jones date from 1929 and are copper engravings from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, his last major series of engravings. Jones made between 150 and 200 preparatory drawings for these engravings, which he executed in “simple incised lines reinforced here and there and as sparingly as possible by cross-hatched areas… I decided also that these essentially linear designs should have an undertone over the whole area of the plate.” This latter effect was achieved by not wiping the plates totally clean of ink before putting them in the press. What Jones particularly cherished in copper engravings was “a lyricism inherent in the clean, furrowed free, fluent engraved line.” In the catalogue of the major Tate Gallery retrospective of 1981, Paul Hills writes, “There can be little doubt that illustrating the Ancient Mariner sharpened David Jones’s vision of the relationship between form and meaning.” See: David Jones, The Dying Gaul and other Writings, 1978; Ironside, David Jones, 1949; Hills, David Jones, 1981.

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Selected prints by DAVID JONES

The Mariners, 1929
Engraving •SOLD
Life-in-death, 1929

View all available prints by DAVID JONES