Firiday’s library snapshot with a holiday feel!
I am originally from the south coast of England; as child we sailed to and from the Isle of Wight. We even sailed round it and on one occasion we bypassed it and sailed to France. So when I saw this in the library I was keen to see whether Barbara Jones had captured the island as I remembered 50 years. ago.
According to the dust jacket; (my copy has one I am delighted to say) ‘The Isle of Wight is the Victorian Paradise of England. The mid-nineteenth century was its heyday, when Osborne House was built and it became one of the favourite residences of the Royal couple and when the warm health resorts on the coast received their ornate cottages, chalets and Italianate villas. Mrs Barbara Jones who for several years had taken a special interest in picturesque Victoriana has here described and painted this peculiar flavour of the Isle of Wight. The text and paintings were done especially for King Penguin Books.
I smiled as I read this because only someone who hadn’t been to the island would describe the portrayal as ‘peculiar’. I have been there many times, as a child and I have taken my children there since. And the Isle of Wight is odd, it is in a peculiar time warp and the pictures still stand as a fair representation.
Barbara Jones (1912-1978) studied Mural Decoration at the Royal College of Art. During the Second World War she was associated with the Recording Britain Project of the Pilgrim Trust. She produced striking murals for the post-war Britain Can Make It exhibition 1946, for the Festival of Britain 1951, for the P&O passenger liners and for hotels restaurants, exhibitions and schools. She also made designs for the children’s television series;the Woodentops. Most of her works;because of their nature did not survive.
However many books containing her artwork remain; as dust jackets and illustrations.
While Barbara Jones remained ‘less famous’ her contemporaries and a notable group of the Royal College of Art were John Piper, Edward Bawden, Eric Ravilious and Edward Ardizzone who became better known.