The E-BNR aims to build a comprehensive & unique cross-artform guide to
the British neo-Romantic tradition,
from 1880 to the present day.
While the British Romantics of 1789-1824 have spawned a vast industry of
publishers, conferences & tourism, the later neo-Romantic traditions
remain largely neglected. The E-BNR is aimed at bringing this hidden
tradition to light.
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WHAT IS NEO-ROMANTICISM ?
Neo-Romantic artists have drawn their inspiration
from artists of the age of Romanticism or earlier.
Characteristic themes in their work include a
mystical approach to the British landscape...
ENTRY: Jones, David
David Jones C.H. (b. November 1, 1895 - d. 1974) was an
artist and poet. His work was formed by his Welsh heritage, his interest in myth and legend, and by his Catholicism.
Jones was born in 1895 in Brockley, Kent, to a Welsh printer and his family.
Jones exhibited artistic promise at an early age, even entering his drawings
into exhibitions of children's artwork. He wrote that from the age of six
he knew that he would devote his life to art. At fourteen, he persuaded his
parents to allow him to abandon traditional education for art school,
and in 1909, he entered the Camberwell Art School, where he was
introduced to the work of the Impressionists and Pre-Raphaelites.
With the outbreak of the First World War, Jones enlisted with the Royal Welsh
Fusiliers and served on the Western Front until the end of the war.
His experiences in the trenches were to prove extremely important in his later painting and poetry.
After the war, Jones entered the Westminster School of Art, where he studied under the English artist
Walter Sickert, among other influential teachers. He also became
increasingly attracted by Roman Catholicism, converted, and contacted the
artist Eric Gill. Gill ran the Guild of St Joseph and St Dominic, based
on the Morris-ian medieval guild model,
in Ditchling, Sussex. Jones joined the guild and learned wood and copper
engraving as well as experimenting with wood carving. Jones soon
began producing book illustrations, and he would later
illustrate for Gill's The Golden Cockerel Press, for whom he engraved the
Cockerel itself in 1925.
Jones spent much of the years 1924 to 1927 living with the Gills at Capel-y-ffin,
becoming engaged to Gill's middle daughter, Petra.
Jones's major illustrated series include wood engravings produced for
editions of The Book of Jonah, The Chester Play Of The Deluge,
Aesop's Fables and Gulliver's Travels as well as for a
Welsh translation of the Book of Ecclesiastes,
Llyfr y Pregethwr. He produced an important group
of copperplate engravings for an edition of
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
Despite his success and growing reputation as an illustrator,
Jones seems to have become disaffected by the way the medium was sloppily
handped by publishers. His style changed over time from more traditional
watercolour landscapes to a unique mixture of pencil and watercolour
resulting in dense and busy works full of symbolism. His best-known
paintings include early seascapes such as "Manawydan's Glass Door" and
later works on legendary subjects, such as "Tristan and Iseult". In 1940 her began a
series of paintings based on Arthurian legend.
He is also much admired for a genre that he devised later in life,
which he termed 'painted inscriptions', and these exert a
continuing influence on calligraphers.
Jones wrote a number of essays on questions of art,
literature, religion and history. He wrote introductions for a
few books such as a new edition of George Borrow's Wild Wales;
he gave radio talks on the BBC's Third Programme. The best summary of David Jones'
attitude to art and religion is contained in his essay,
'Art and Sacrament' (included in Epoch and Artist),
which explores the meaning of signs and symbols in everyday life.