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Jones, Calvert Richard, 1802–1877
Album of maritime and figure sketches.
Wales, 1849 September 4-1850 April 22.
Physical Description:
1 v. (31 leaves) ; 18 x 26 cm.
Rare Books and Manuscripts
N8230.J6 A4 1849+ Oversize
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
Copyright Status:
Copyright Information
Drawings & Watercolors
The noted Welsh artist and photographic pioneer Calvert Richard Jones (1804-1877) is best remembered for his contributions to early photographic processes, and as a colleague of Henry Fox Talbot. He was born in Swansea, Wales, and grew up in Heathfield House, Mount Pleasant. He attended Oriel College, Oxford, was ordained in 1829, and was installed as Rector of Loughor. He was an enthusiastic painter at an early age, specializing in nautical themes--usually showing ships afloat or at dock. While at Oxford he became friends with the future member of Parliament, C.R.M.Talbot. It was through him that Jones met the pioneering photographer, Henry Fox Talbot--the inventor of the calotype process for making several positive images from a single negative. Jones and Fox Talbot became friends, and (in the mid- to late-1840s) Jones became an important photographic pioneer in his own right, using the calotype process to take early photographs of ships and seamen in and around Swansea Harbor. He is credited with taking the earliest dated photograph in Wales.
In addition to his experiments with photography, however, Jones was also an accomplished watercolorist, specializing in maritime scenes and vignettes of men at work or at rest, i.e. the same themes that Jones emphasized in his photographic work. As a painter, Jones's method was to make preliminary pencil and wash sketches of his subject, whether they be nautical scenes or portraits. The editors of Under sail (Swansea, 1987) contend that his portrait sketches "are probably related to his photographic studies, as the subjects are always arranged in a pose with limbs supported, as was necessary with the long exposures required for photography" (p.102).
Bound in original black straight-grained half morocco over marbled paper-covered boards, by Herbert Jones of Swansea.
Album of original maritime and figure sketches by Calvert Richard Jones, executed in 1849 and 1850. The oblong octavo album comprises 31 leaves with 49 pages of sketches in graphite, pen and ink, and gouache. They include 1 watercolor sketch, 10 sketches in pen and brown ink (some with wash and touches of white), 22 sketches in graphite heightened with white (including 1 double page), and 15 sketches in graphite alone. All but three of the sketches are on light grey or light green tinted paper. Most of the sketches bear captions, noting the date, place, or subject of the sketch.
The sketches in the present album heavily reflect Jones's artistic and photographic themes, as they are largely composed of nautical scenes or scenes of men at work or at rest. It is likely that most of the sketches depict subjects in and around Swansea Harbor. Thirty of the sketches are delicately drawn renderings of ships at sea or at dock, showing the ships tossing in rough waters or under repair in dock. Some of the ships are named in the captions; they include: the Capricorn, the Palemburg, and the Pakenham of Liverpool. Jones is accomplished at giving a sense of motion in his maritime scenes, and at giving details of complicated riggings. Another 10 sketches show men at work or at leisure, including scenes of men pulling rope lines or resting after a bout of hard work. In some of these drawings the men are shown leaning against walls or otherwise supported, evoking the poses that would be held for long periods of time in early photographic portraits. The other nine sketches are rough figure drawings or works showing classical statuary.
The present album of original pencil, ink, and watercolor sketches shows how the classical art of painting and the plastic art of photography influenced each other in the first decade of photography, and it is an important tool for understanding the early interplay of those two mediums.
Subject Terms:
Harbors -- Pictorial works.
Jones, Calvert Richard, 1802-1877.
Marine painting, British.
Photographers -- Great Britain.
Ships in art.
Stevedores -- Pictorial works.
Swansea (Wales) -- Pictorial works.
Marines (visual works)
Figures (representations)
Graphite drawings.
Ink drawings.
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