One of the last of the old school of painters who survived into the Victorian era. He was the son of a mezzotinto engraver, and trained early in art, studying at the RA Schools at the beginning of the 19th Century, before going off to fight in the Peninsular War. The battles he was in gave him a lasting love of battle scenes, which formed an important part of his artistic output thereafter. He also painted street scenes, historical and biblical subjects in great number and variety. In 1820 the British Institution awarded him a prize of 200 guineas for a painting of the Battle of Waterloo (James Ward won 1000 guineas for a painting of the same subject). He produced a variation on the theme two years later, and the Institution awarded him a further 200 guineas. In that year he became ARA, and was elected RA in 1824.
Jones was an important figure in the Academy, becoming Librarian in 1834, and subsequently Keeper (1840-50). While in this post, he wrote a book on the sculptor Francis Chantrey (of the bequest).
Late in life, still involved in battle scenes, and fancying himself to have a strong physical resemblance to his hero, the Duke of Wellington, Jones developed the endearing habit of dressing up in a similar fashion, including the three-cornered hat.
Top of page