Plas Glyn y Weddw Gallery,
Jonah Jones Centennial Exhibition at Plas Glyn y Weddw
The 2019 programme at Plas Glyn-y-Weddw willl start with a special exhibition celebrating the life and work of Jonah Jones.
Jonah Jones (17 February 1919 – 29 November 2004) was born Leonard Jones near Wardley, Tyne and Wear in the North East of England, but became known as a Welsh sculptor, artist-craftsman and writer.
His father had been a coalminer before being invalided in the First World War; the family endured considerable poverty through the 1920s and 1930s. Registering in the Second World War as a conscientious objector, Jonah Jones at first worked in forestry, but later enlisted in the British Army as a non-combatant. He served in 224 Parachute Field Ambulance within the 6th Airborne Division, taking part in the Ardennes campaign of December 1944 and the airdrop over the Rhine at Wesel in March 1945. He was one of the first Allied troops to enter the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp after its liberation. After the war Jonah Jones was stationed in Palestine during the final stages of the British Mandate.
Following demobilisation in 1947, his career began at the Caseg Press, Llanystumdwy with the artist John Petts, followed soon after by a short, intensive stay at the workshop of the late Eric Gill, where he learned the techniques of lettering and carving in stone.
During the 1950s Jonah Jones established a full-time workshop practice, one of the few who were able at that time in Wales to earn a living solely from art. He worked in many media, but is especially remembered as a sculptor in stone, letter cutter and painter of vernacular lettering. Learning both the traditional techniques of stained glass and the newer ones of concrete glass and dalle de verre, he left a fine body of work in Catholic churches around Wales and England. He also painted in watercolour, a medium in which he produced a distinctive body of work based on vernacular calligraphy, a technique in which the artist and poet David Jones was a major influence. He also produced two published novels, a book of largely autobiographical essays, an illustrated book about the lakes of North Wales, and a biography of Clough Williams-Ellis, the architect of Portmeirion. In addition he made a substantial contribution in art education and was a generous mentor of many emerging artists.
A new book of letters written by Jonah Jones and Mona Lovell, Dear Mona: Letters from a Conscientious Objector, arrives 08 October. The book reveals, in Jonah’s own words, not just the story of his early life and his relationship with Mona, but also that of the Second World War, of being on the Home Front, on the European battlefield and in the nascent Israel.