Monday, March 30, 2009

David Jones

David Jones (1895-1974) was an Anglo-Welsh artist and modernist poet. He was born in Howson Road, Brockley and studied at Camberwell College of Art before being sent to fight on the Western Front in the First World War. Later he joined Eric Gill and others in the artists' colony in Ditchling (Sussex).

His best known work, In Parenthesis, is informed by his war experiences - Jones is listed as one of 16 war poets on a memorial in Westminster Abbey. According to the wikipedia article 'Jones continued to visit his family home in Brockley until the mid 1930s and some of his sketches depict the house and garden.' In any event, despite dying in Harrow, he was buried in Crofton Park.


Picture: The Maid at No.37 by David Jones (1926). I did wonder whether this might have been drawn locally, but I don't think it can be Howson Road as the houses there only have two storeys.

7 comments:

Sue said...

Intersting, thanks. Do you know where in Crofton Park he's buried? If it's in Brockley & Ladywell Cemeteries, FOBLC might be interested in doing a piece on their blog and finding his grave. Also, any idea which house in Howson Road? If it's one still standing it might be worth Lewisham local history society pushing for a red plaque or smthg.

spincat said...

Sue,
There is apparently a memorial to him carved by John Skelton
in Brockley and Ladywell cemetery For a picture of the memorial go to:
http://www.johnskelton.org.uk/lettercutting.htm

I say 'apparently' because it is a sort of hobby of mine to try and find it. I sort of want to find it myself rather than do sensible things like going to Lewisham archives where I think the graves are listed.

Re my 'hobby': don't want to sound too weird here .. it is sort of a non-obsessive hobby, you understand. More like a walk with a purpose. I've walked round looking about 7 or 8times now with no luck, but I'll find it one day...

spincat said...

PS: I am fairly sure he lived at 128 Howson Road. I can't find mention of this on internet but I do have some information at home which would confirm this; though not back there for a while. There is no plaque.

Transpontine said...

Thanks spincat, I know what you mean about taking the serendipitous approach - if you don't know exactly where to find something you're more likely to stumble across something else interesting while looking for it. Must admit my first thought when writing the post was 'I must wander down Howson Rd and take a look' followed swiftly by 'time is short, let's have a look on google streetview;.

Sue said...

Thanks Spincat!

Anonymous said...

Spincat / Sue,

the memorial is indeed there in Brockley and Ladywell. I won't spoil your enjoyment by telling you precisely where but will give you a clue.

It is a little to the ladywell side of the cemetery, set into the ground and so quite overgrown by long grass and hard to find. But it is part of the grave to Jones' parents which is marked by a headstone by Eric Gill: an arts and crafts take on dark age British Christianity.

Perhaps it should be tidied a little. But I like the fact that it seems hidden and forgotten. I would be sorry if FOBLC or the council tried to make a municipal fuss of it. Most people will never care about the grave of a dead poet. Those that do will care all the more if they have discovered them for themselves.

Christine said...

I hope more local residents will take the trouble to seek out the location of David Jones's memorial stone and also perhaps read 'In Parenthesis' and appreciate his other works and his lettering.

Kelly's Directory in the Local Studies library should tell you where he lived. He is surely one of the jewels in the history of Lewisham.

John Skelton was also a very fine lettercutter and a stark contrast to much of the trade lettercutting in the cemetery.

Christine