This article has multiple issues. Please help talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages)or discuss these issues on the
Alfred Garth Jones
10 August 1872
|Died||6 July 1955 (aged 82)|
Alfred Jones was born in Hulme, Manchester in 1872, the son of Thomas Jones (b1844) and Mary McCullock (b1846). At that time, Thomas Jones was a mechanical draughtsman although he later progressed to become an Engineering Lecturer.
In the United Kingdom Census 1881, Alfred is listed (aged 8) with the rest of his family (Ada, Mary, Thomas, Alfred, Ernest, Robert, Maud and later Percy) which was resident in Moss Side, then a Manchester suburb. At age 18, Alfred was still living with his parents and was studying art in Manchester. It seems that within a few years he had moved to London in order to advance his career in the arts. This was most probably in order to become a student at the National Art Training School in South Kensington, an institution that would become the Royal College of Art in 1896.
The March 1901 edition of The Poster and Art Collector publication included an article entitled "Some Remarks on the Work of Alfred Garth Jones" (by The Editor). This describes how Jones continued his training by attending the Slade School of Fine Art as a pupil of Professor Fred Brown. He then extended his studies in Paris at the Académie Julian where he was directed by Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant and Jean-Paul Laurens, before returning to England in 1894.
On 15 December 1898 Alfred married Harriette Napier Osborne (a farmer's daughter b 10 December 1875 in Marden, Kent) at The Parish Church (now Chelsea Old Church) in the parish of St. Luke, Chelsea, London. The ceremony was attended by Alfred's father, Thomas, and by Harriette's mother, Lydia Napier Osborne (née Hardy). By the time of the United Kingdom Census 1901 the couple were living on the King's Road, Chelsea.
In 1911, Alfred and Harriette were living in Wandsworth with their 5-year-old daughter, Barbara Garth Jones. The census of that year records that Harriette had by this time given birth to two children. Brian Garth Jones had been born in 1902 but had died aged four. The census forms in the United Kingdom were then required to be completed by the head of the household, for that individual address, and this document bears the name and signature "Alfred Garth Jones".
Alfred adopted the middle name Garth early in his career in order to distinguish himself from artists with a similar name. The reason for choosing this name is not known, but may have been influenced by the Welsh ancestry of his forefathers. His earlier works were signed A Garth Jones (or A G J), although later this was shortened to Garth Jones. Jones' illustrations were used in several notable publications around the start of the 20th century, including works by Tennyson, H.G. Wells, John Milton, Conan Doyle and Carmen Sylva.
Two years later, Jones edited The Beam, a bi-monthly magazine published by students of the National Art Training Schools. There were only three editions produced between January and May 1896.
In 1898, he produced a woodcut portrayal of the bound Samson in a collection of John Milton's poems.
By 1901, Jones' reputation was sufficient that he was selected, along with Harold Nelson, by Elisabeth of Wied (Queen Consort of Carol I of Romania) to illustrate the English edition of a book of verse (A Real Queen's Fairy Book, published by George Newnes Ltd) which she had written under the nom de plume of Carmen Sylva. In France at around the same time, Jérôme Doucet (1865-1957) chose Jones to be the illustrator for his "Contes de la Fileuse" (Tales of the Spinner). Doucet was noted for the care that he took in choosing his illustrators. This book contains 117 pen-drawings by Jones so that the November 1901 issue of The Studio reported that "It has fallen to the lot of Mr. Garth Jones to be more widely known in France than he is in his own country". Also in this year, Alfred, Lord Tennyson's In Memoriam was published with illustrations by Jones and he contributed to Queen Mab's Fairy Realm along with fellow illustrators Herbert Cole, H. R. Millar, Arthur Rackham and Reginald Savage.
Around 1902, Jones was associated with the Carlton Studio, one of the largest studios of commercial art in London at that time. During this period, along with Albert Angus Turbayne, he was of assistance to a number of Canadian book design artists who had joined Carlton in order to improve their skills.
In 1904, a mosaic portraying the Arts was designed by Jones and executed by the Bromsgrove Guild for incorporation into the pedimented gable of the new Hull School of Art, a listed building that still stands on Anlaby Road, Hull.
Jones designed the stained glass windows for the new Cardiff City Hall which was completed in 1906. Notable amongst these is the large arched window in the Council Chamber, dated 1905, which depicts "Dame Wales" and the commercial life of the Principality.
By 1910 - 1912 Jones was again teaching at the Lambeth School of Art, where he was described as the member of staff for decorative and illuminative design. The length of this tenure is not known.
In America, his illustrations for Henry van Dyke's short stories the Half-Told Tales appeared in the January to June 1912 issue of Scribner's Magazine. In October 1912, Charles Scribner's Sons published the first edition of Van Dyke's The Unknown Quantity, with artwork by various illustrators, of which Garth Jones was one. The book included Half-Told Tales and so it is likely that Jones' same illustrations and decorations were used.
In 1921 Jones exhibited two works at the first annual exhibition of the Society of Graphic Art in Suffolk Street, London.
Scribner's Magazine for July to December 1925 showed Jones' work for an entry entitled The Two Selves by Elsa Barker (1869-1954), an American novelist and poet, born in Leicester, Vermont. However, by this time there are few other references to indicate that Jones' work was still being published, except for a few posters, such as The Bazaar for Collectors and Connoisseurs, from the 1920s.
Jones' paintings were used as front covers for several issues of Bibby's Annual, edited by Joseph Bibby of Liverpool, England, in the 1920s and also for the retrospect and epilogue edition in 1936.
Although the commercial demand for his work seems to have declined in the years after World War I, Jones continued to produce art until the end of his life. In November 1939 he presented a dedicated watercolour as a wedding gift to his nephew Alan (the son of his younger brother Ernest) and Alan's bride, Peggy Holt. Similar paintings had already been produced to mark the marriages of each of his brother Ernest's children, as well as one for his unmarried sister Maud. Other works completed for the family include a number of bookplates, all titled "Ex Libris". Amongst these were plates for Ernest and other relatives, Joyce Holt, Eric Vlies and Olga Jones. In some cases the original print blocks still exist. Several of his watercolours and drawings are also retained within the family.
In 1943, Alfred wrote a letter from an address in Chadwell Heath, Essex to his younger brother Ernest on the subject of his nephew Philip's death in a flying accident whilst training pilots in the United States.
Barbara Garth Jones married Eric Hosmer in 1930 and they had daughters Patricia Mary (b1932) and Janet (b1936).