Privately Held

Barbara Jones (1912 - 1978)

The Resort, 1950

SKU: 6233

Signed and dated 1950
Tempera on panel,
48 x 72 in. (122 x 183 cm)

Height – 122cm
Width – 183cm


Private collection

Exhibited: The V&A, London, First Exhibition of The Society of Mural Painters, organised by The Arts Council, 1950 (label to reverse)

Literature: Artmonsky, Ruth, A Snapper Up of Unconsidered Triffles, A tribute to Barbara Jones, illustrated p 114

A time traveller visiting mid twentieth-century Britain would discover a

painted world. Restaurants, department stores, schools and hospitals were

filled with murals painted by the best artists of the day. Aside from a few

celebrated examples (think Rex Whistler at Tate Britain), most of these

have disappeared, and in many cases not even a photograph survives. This

is true of the numerous murals painted by Barbara Jones, but occasionally

we find a treasure that has escaped the general destruction, whether a

mural itself or a study, as this seems to be. The Resort, which was shown

at the First Exhibition of the Society of Mural Painters (the Victoria and

Albert Museum, 1950), may have been related to Jones’ preparations for

the Festival of Britain in 1951, but almost seventy years later it stands by

itself as a work of great individuality and charm. Jones was taught by Eric

Ravilious, and there are hints here of her teacher’s preoccupations with

nautical design, improbably delicate structures and idiosyncratic wheeled

vehicles. Her imaginative world has its own style, however, and its own

distinctive palette. As so often with Jones, we see perspective and scale

treated with a childlike playfulness, but it is clear that a sophisticated

visual intelligence is at work. There’s a constant back and forth of dark

against light, light against dark, and a beguiling clarity of vision. We

sense that the scene, though in no way realistic, is real, and we share the

curiosity and awe of the children admiring the deep sea diver as the ice

cream seller looks on.

Commentary by James Russell, independent art historian and curator, most notably of exhibitions at Dulwich Picture Gallery devoted to Eric Ravilious (2015) and Edward Bawden (2018).

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Barbara Jones
1912 - 1978

Barbara Jones first attended art school in Croydon (1931’33) before
winning a scholarship to the Royal College of Art (1933’36), where
she met painter Cliff Barry whom she married in 1941.

A prolific and varied artist, during WWII she worked with
the Pilgrim Trust on the Recording Britain series, making one of
the largest contributions of the 63 artists taking part. She wrote
and illustrated books on design history, many of which are today
considered seminal, including The Unsophisticated Arts, 1951 and
Design for Death, 1967.

In 1951, she organised the Black Eyes and Lemonade: Curating
Popular Art
exhibition held at the Whitechapel Gallery for the Festival
of Britain. A fellow of the Society of Industrial Artists from the same
year, she was made vice president in 1969. She was also a fellow of
the Royal Anthropological Institute and a member of the Society of
Authors. A retrospective exhibition of the contents of her studio was
held at Katharine House Gallery, Marlborough, in 1999.

With thanks to


Barbara Jones (1912 - 1978)
Study for Man and his Senses, c. 1966-71
Barbara Jones (1912 - 1978)
Black Eyes & Lemonade invitation card private view, 1951
Barbara Jones (1912 - 1978)
Hot Air Balloon
Barbara Jones (1912 - 1978)
Black Eyes and Lemonade, Joness 1951 exhibition of popular art and design at the Whitechapel Gallery
Barbara Jones (1912 - 1978)
Mural design for the Royal Post Office, circa 1961
Barbara Jones (1912 - 1978)
Study for Man at Work – a century of technical and social progress, 1961
Barbara Jones (1912 - 1978)
The Resort, 1950
Barbara Jones (1912 - 1978)
Marconi Transmitting the First Radio Signals from Cornwall to Newfoundland, 1901
Barbara Jones (1912 - 1978)
Louis Bleriot flying the English Channel, 1909
Barbara Jones (1912 - 1978)
Man at WorkA Century of Technical and Social Progress, 1961
Barbara Jones (1912 - 1978)
Out in the Hall, 1960
Barbara Jones (1912 - 1978)
The Wind Tunnel – Royal Aircraft Establishment Farnborough, 1944