New painting joins The Box’s collections thanks to generous gift

New painting joins The Box’s collections thanks to generous gift

13 October 2021

The Box is delighted to have acquired a new painting for its permanent art collection from the estate of artist Jean Jones (1927-2012).

‘Dartmoor China Clay’ was painted in 1992 by the London-born artist who had a deep connection with Devon throughout her life.

The artwork shows a stunning rural landscape painted with Jones’ signature broad brushstrokes and simple yet vibrant colour palette.

It’s been generously gifted by Jones’ family with the support of the Brownston Gallery in Modbury which has been working with the Jean Jones Estate to bring the artist’s work and life story back into the spotlight.

Art historian and representative of the Jean Jones Estate, Michael Kurtz, said:

We’re delighted that The Box has accepted this gift, which represents the first occasion Jones’ work will be seen in a public collection since her exhibition at Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum in 1980. The Estate’s mission is to research and publicise the life and art of Jean Jones, a virtuosic landscape painter whose career was derailed by mental illness and the expectation that she would perform a traditional role as wife and mother.

We hope ‘Dartmoor China Clay’ will bring her joyful vision of the local landscape, as well as her significant story, to a wider public. She would have been immensely pleased, not only because Devon was her favourite place to live and paint, but also because she passionately admired many of the artists she’ll now be in the company of, such as Peter Lanyon and JMW Turner.

Dartmoor China Clay by Jean Jones

Jones was fascinated by colour and often painted her landscapes ‘en plein air’, or outdoors. After enjoying holidays in the South Hams and living in Bideford as a child, she and her husband John bought a property in Shaugh Prior on the edge of Dartmoor.

Devon and the act of painting itself often provided her with an escape from periods of anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder. Despite the mental health challenges she faced, she produced over 400 paintings.

Catherine Gillen, Director of the Brownston Gallery said:

This acquisition by The Box will go a long way towards ensuring that Jean Jones is recognised as an accomplished artist in her own right. It also gives a voice to the many women artists who’ve struggled to find their place in an often male-dominated art world.

Jean’s extraordinary story resonates with many aspiring artists today and deserves to be told. ‘Dartmoor China Clay’ is particularly apt as it shows a scene she would have looked at every day from her cottage on the edge of Dartmoor. We’ve enjoyed working with The Box to make this happen and look forward to seeing this striking painting on display in the future.

Terah Walkup, art curator at The Box said:

This painting is a wonderful addition to The Box’s art collections, especially our 20th century paintings, and adds a moving, previously untold, story to the continuing legacy of artists deeply inspired by the local landscape. Jean Jones energetically captures an iconic view of an area that many Plymouth residents and visitors love. We’re hugely grateful for the generosity of the Jean Jones Estate for gifting this work to us, and the support of the Brownston Gallery, and are looking forward to supporting their ambition to share her story more widely.

Find out more about The Box's art collections.

Image credits:

Header: From L-R - Terah Walkup, Art Curator at The Box and Catherine Gillen, Director of the Brownston Gallery
Painting: Dartmoor China Clay by Jean Jones, 1992 © The Box, Plymouth