Artist biography

Welsh painter. Initially he meant to train as a portrait painter but, dismayed by the cost and length of the apprenticeship, instead studied in 1763–5 under the landscape painter Richard Wilson, also a Welshman. Jones then joined the Incorporated Society of Artists and in 1767 was awarded a premium by the Society of Arts; he exhibited there between 1765 and 1780 and was much engaged in its affairs.

In 1776 Jones left for Italy, remaining there until 1783. He spent the first two years in Rome making views of the city and the Campagna. As an artist working in Italy, Jones can be singled out for two reasons: first for his memoirs, which not only offer intimate and valuable insights into his practices and perceptions but also provide information on British artists there at that time; and second for the substantial number of skilled and interesting oil sketches he produced.

Jones settled in London and continued to exhibit at the Royal Academy, although he had effectively given up professional painting; instead he lived off rents provided by a small estate given him by his father. In 1786 and 1788 he made some topographical views of the house and grounds comprising Thomas Johnes's estate at Hafod, Dyfed. He also produced five small drawings that were engraved for James Baker's A Picturesque Guide to the Local Beauties of Wales (1794). In 1789 he inherited the family home at Pencerrig and retired there, painting less in these final years, although he continued to exhibit at the Royal Academy until 1798.

Bibliography
Thomas Jones (1742–1803) (exh. cat. by R. Edwards and J. Jacob, London, Kenwood House, 1970)
L. Gowing: The Originality of Thomas Jones (London, 1985)
Travels in Italy, 1776–1783, Based on the ‘Memoirs' of Thomas Jones (exh. cat. by F. W. Hawcroft, U. Manchester, Whitworth A.G., 1988)

MICHAEL ROSENTHAL

Copyright material reproduced courtesy of Oxford University Press, New York

Article provided by Grove Art Online www.groveart.com