JONES, David: correspondence from and relating to David Jones

Administrative / Biographical History

Walter David Michael Jones (1895-1974), known as David, was an artist, engraver, woodcarver, illustrator and poet. His father was of a Welsh family but had settled in London, and his father's Welsh heritage played an important part in David Jones artistic and poetic work. He attended Camberwell School of Art and Westminster Art School. He fought in the First World War, an experience which was to have a profound effect on him and on his work, both his art and his poetry: he recalled the horror and devastation of war. Another major influence was religion. He became a Catholic in 1921 and his religious belief and devotion was a major theme running through all his work, art and poetry. Many of his works have religious themes. He worked with Eric Gill in Ditchling and Capel-y-Ffin. He met Jim Ede in the 1920s and through Ede was introduced to Helen Sutherland. Both were staunch supporters and patrons of his work; and David Jones became a close personal friend of both Jim and Helen Ede as well as Helen Sutherland. Jones' poetry, particularly the long poem 'The Anthemata', drawing on history and mythology concerning ancient Britain and the Roman conquest, was considered to be an outstanding work and was much praised by W.H. Auden. His other significant piece of writing 'In Parenthesis', a mixture of poetry and prose was also highly valued by critics and readers. He suffered from ill health, mental and physical, throughout his life but his output was large and varied. His very versatility was what made him a fierce critic of his own work but drew admiration from many.