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The Animals of David Jones
24 October 2015 – 6 March 2016
This exhibition is inspired by three objects from the museum’s collection which all feature animals. During Jones’ time in Ditchling he painted a mural on the kitchen wall in his cottage which remains intact to this day. While he was painting the mural he gave a watercolour study to his fiancé Petra Gill. This drawing is now in the museum collection and is exhibited in this exhibition alongside a carved wooden bear which Jones made for the son of another Guild member. Within the Guild was the St Dominic’s Press which took as its emblem the hound of St Dominic. Jones cut a woodblock of the hound for the press which was lost until earlier in the year when it was spotted in a London saleroom. As a result of the generosity of a number of the museum’s supporters and a donation from the ArtFund we were delighted to be able to purchase it and bring it home to Ditchling where it will be displayed for the first time in The Animals of David Jones.
One of the more unusual objects in the exhibition is the door to the Guild chapel’s safe on which David Jones painted a charming Agnus Dei, the Lamb of God. When the Guild was closed this was sold and has remained in a private collection to this date. Thankfully we have tracked it down to bring it to the museum for this exhibition.
Surrounding these Ditchling period works are nearly 70 works including major paintings on loan from the National Museum of Wales and the British Council Collection, a war drawing from the collection of the Royal Welch Fusiliers, Jones’ painted crucifixion from Gill’s chapel at his Buckinghamshire home Pigotts and a whole host of extraordinary animal drawings, prints and paintings from private homes across the country.