Artist in Focus: David Jones II - Engravings, Illustrations and Inscriptions
[image: David Jones (1895-1974) Frontispiece for 'In Parenthesis']
David Jones (1895-1974)
Frontispiece for 'In Parenthesis'
pencil, watercolour and ink on paper
Purchased from Anthony D'Offay Gallery, 1975
Reproduced with permission of the Estate of David Jones
David Jones was one of the great British artists and writers of the twentieth century.
This display focuses on his early work as a printmaker and book illustrator and on the painted inscriptions he produced later in his career.
Jones worked primarily as a printmaker during the early years of his career, producing engravings both in wood and on metal.
He first learnt the technique of wood-engraving from Desmond Chute (1895-1957) after joining the Ditchling Guild of St Joseph and St Dominic in 1921.
This Roman Catholic craft community was founded in 1919 by his mentor, the artist Eric Gill (1882-1940) and Hilary Pepler (1878-1951). At Ditchling Jones refined his skills and produced some of his most stylised work for the St Dominic's Press.
Throughout the 1920s Jones received commissions to illustrate books, mainly for private presses. The subjects of his work reflected his faith and his interest in historical myths and stories.
He developed a highly personal and expressive style of engraving and was revered for his ability to convey the spirit of the text in his illustrations. He was elected a member of the Society of Wood Engravers in 1926.
Jones gave up engraving in the early 1930s due to eye problems. At this time he began to concentrate on painting in watercolour and writing. Continuing his interest in both word and art, Jones began to create painted inscriptions in the 1940s.
He used biblical and poet texts and a mixture of languages, Latin, Greek, Welsh and English. They became an important art form in his later work and he produced around sixty.