Jean Jones: A Life Uncovered: The Brownston Gallery

Following last Autumn’s landmark retrospective of the recently rediscovered artist Jean Jones (1927-2012), the Jean Jones Estate is proud to announce the launch of its second exhibition at The Brownston Gallery, Devon – “Jean Jones: A Life Uncovered”.
Jean Jones was a British figurative painter who achieved substantial success in the London and Oxford art worlds of the 1970s, culminating in a prestigious solo exhibition at Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum in 1980. Her work engages varyingly with the legacies of expressionism and post-impressionism, serving as a “diary” through which she was able to document her shifting perceptions of the world across five decades. The notable dealer and connoisseur David Carritt commended the “poetic” and “lyrical” qualities of her paintings, whilst the novelist Iris Murdoch went so far as to predict that Jones would one day be as famous as her great idol, Van Gogh. As it would happen however, Jones would never reach the great heights she had once promised; her career as a selling and exhibiting artist tragically curtailed by the deterioration of her longstanding struggle with severe mental illness. It was painting – practiced as a daily ritual – that ultimately saved her.
“Jean Jones: A Life Uncovered” will delve deeper into the complex story of the woman behind the canvas; illuminating the trials and tribulations of her personal life, whilst situating her within the history of post-war British painting. Alongside a characteristic selection of Jones’s breath-taking Dartmoor landscapes and touching portraits of her loved ones, this exhibition will display newly unearthed archival material, including sketches, hand-drawn children’s books, photographs and letters. With an array of previously unseen paintings and an associated programme of engaging events, Jones’s story will be presented in rich detail – a story which so nearly eluded the scope of history.
The exhibition will commence on Saturday 8 May at The Brownston Gallery, followed by an exclusive talk from Michael Kurtz – one of the curators at the Estate – on Wednesday 19 May.
The following collections hold Jean Jones paintings: Corpus Christi College JCR, Oxford, Girton College, Cambridge, Estate of JRR Tolkien, The Golding Family Archive, Estate of Iris Murdoch, Professor John Carey, Estate of Lady Wendy French, Paintings in Hospitals Charity (chosen by Lord Jeremy Hutchinson), Estate of Lord Anthony Quinton.