George Jones

(6 January 1786 - 19 September 1869)


The only son of John Jones (1745-1797) [q. v.] the mezzotint engraver. George Steevens, the Shakespearean commentator, was his godfather. He became a student at the Royal Academy in 1801, and from 1803 to 1811, was an annual exhibitor of portraits, views, and domestic subjects.

The Peninsular war, however, attracted him to a military life, and he entered the militia and volunteered for active service. He joined the army of occupation in Paris after Waterloo. At the close of the war he resumed his profession, took up military subjects, and painted many graphic and accurate representations in the battles in the Peninsula and Waterloo. In 1820, his picture of Waterloo, with Wellington leading the English advance, was awarded the British Institution premium of one hundred guineas, and was purchased by the directors, who presented it to Chelsea Hospital.

He painted the victories of Vittoria and Waterloo for the king and Lord Egremont, and of his numerous views of the latter battle one is now in the Scottish National Gallery, and another in the United Service Club. His ‘Battle of St. Vincent -- Nelson boarding the San Josef,’ was purchased by the British Institution in 1827, and presented to Greenwich Hospital. In 1822, Jones was elected an associate of the Academy, and in 1824, a full member.


From 1834 to 1840, he was librarian, and from 1840 to 1850, keeper. His zeal and activity in the latter capacity was much appreciated by the students. From 1845 to 1850, when Sir Martin Shee was incapacitated by ill-health, he acted as president on all public occasions. Jones recorded on his canvases many passing historical events, such as:
‘The Prince Regent received by the University and City of Oxford, June 1814’ (engraved),
‘The Banquet at the Coronation of George IV,’
‘The Passing of the Catholic Relief Bill,’ and
‘The Opening of New London Bridge.’
He also painted views of continental cities. His "Orleans" is at Woburn Abbey, and his "Rotterdam" at Grosvenor House. Latterly he executed a great number of drawings in sepia and chalk of biblical and poetical subjects, and depicted the battles of the Sikh and Crimean wars. In the last year of his life he exhibited at the Academy "Sketch of the Conquest and Destruction of Magdala", as well as two large pictures, "Cawnpore -- Passage of the Ganges", and "Relief of Lucknow", which he presented to the National Gallery.

Jones was Robert Vernon's chief adviser in the formation of his collection, and four of his works were included in it. He was an intimate friend of Chantrey and Turner, for both of whom he acted as executor; and in 1849, he published Recollections of Sir F. Chantrey. He was a genial, well-bred man, strongly resembling the Duke of Wellington in appearance.

Many of Jones's drawings were in the collection formed by his friend, Charles Hampden Turner, at Rook's Nest, Tandridge, Surrey; and the print room of the British Museum possesses some good examples of his water-colour art, besides eleven volumes of academical studies, bequeathed by him. His portrait of Sir Charles Napier, sketched in oils, is in the National Portrait Gallery. Jones died in Park Square, Regent's Park. He married in 1844, Gertrude Anne, the daughter of Major Wintringham Loscombe.

[Sandby's Hist. of the Royal Academy; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Athenæum, 25 Sept. and 2 Oct. 1869; National Gallery Catalogue; Graves's Dict. of Artists, 1760–1880; Information from his widow, Mrs. Jones; Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 30, by Freeman Marius O'Donoghue.]



Peninsular War Paintings

While it is unknown whether Jones went to Spain, he did make the acquaintance of Lieut. Gen. Paul Anderson, who had fought in the Peninsular War. The latter had also been a friend of the late General Sir John Moore and was present at the death of the general at the Battle of Corunna. Anderson commissioned Jones to paint the burial scene and possibly two companion pieces. The artist also painted a scene of the "Battle of Vittoria" which is now in the Royal Collection.

Borodino and Waterloo Paintings

Waterloo was particularly attractive to the artist and he exhibited no less than five paintings of the battle at the Royal Academy and six at the British Institution, earning the nickname 'Waterloo' Jones. His 1816 piece at the British Institute was for the competition for the best rendition of the battle, for which he won the second prize of 200 guineas. His presence in the latter stages of the campaign clearly helped him and he made numerous sketches of the battlefield and surroundings; some of these were used in a book entitled The Battle of Waterloo...By a Near Observer published in 1817. In 1829, Jones painted a large scene of Borodino, while from the same year came his scene entitled "Nelson boarding the San Josef at St. Vincent".

Scinde Campaign Paintings

Jones was friendly with William Napier, brother of General Sir Charles Napier, and following the victories in Scinde in 1842-43, William asked Jones to paint a scene in support of his brother who was being criticised for supposedly creating the war to further his own ambitions. Jones painted several scenes including the "Battle of Meanee", the "Battle of Hydrabad", the "Battle of Trukee" and the "Destruction of the fortress at Emaum Ghur".

Crimean War Paintings

The subject of the war in the Crimea appealed to Jones who exhibited two preliminary oil sketches at the Royal Academy in 1855, entitled "The battle of the Alma" and "Balaclava 1854 - conflict at the guns". Four years later, the artist submitted another picture entitled "The Battle of Inkermann".

Indian Mutiny Paintings

Just as the Scinde paintings were created to celebrate a general, Jones painted several scenes of the Indian Mutiny to honor Sir Colin Campbell. The first piece was entitled "Contest in the Raptee river between the 7th Hussars, commanded by Sir W. Russell, and the Sowars". His two major paintings depicted Lucknow and Cawnpore.

Abyssinian Campaign

In the final year of his life, Jones produced a watercolor depicting "The Conquest and Destruction of Magdala". -- en.wikipedia



Bust by Henry Weekes R.A. (1807-1877)



He is best remembered for his paintings of military subjects and British battle scenes. He was born on January 6, 1786, the son of John Jones, a mezzotint engraver. In 1801 he became a student at the Royal Academy in London, England, where he was a frequent art exhibitor over the next eight years. He joined the Royal Montgomery Militia and was commissioned a captain on February 17, 1812, and was part of the British army of occupation in Paris, France after the Battle of Waterloo. After the war he resumed his are career, winning prizes and fame for his paintings of military engagements. In 1822, he was elected an associate of the Royal Academy and became a full member in 1824, as its librarian, and from 1840 to 1850, its keeper. He became an executor to British engraver Charles Turner, who had apprenticed under his father, and to British landscape painter Joseph Mallord William Turner (no relation to Charles Turner). He died on September 19, 1869, in Park Square, Regent's Park, London, England. Among the British battle scenes that he painted include the Peninsular War Campaign, the Borodino and Waterloo battles, the Scinde Campaign, the Crimean War Campaign, the Indian Mutiny Campaign, and the Abyssinian Campaign.
Born: Jan. 6, 1786, England
Death: Sep. 19, 1869, Regents Park, Greater London, England
Burial: Highgate Cemetery (West) Highgate, London Borough of Camden, Greater London, England.
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