This is Video of the Week from Wales Arts Review. We’ll be showcasing some of the best art in Wales with a new video shared every week. From music to drama and everything in between, videos will not be limited by medium. This week we’re looking at a video by the National Museum, which explores the value of the sketchbook in the work of Welsh artist David Jones.
Why does an artist use a sketchbook? It could be for a number of reasons, for detailed studies, quick drawings or just making notes – it really is a tool for exploration and is an invaluable asset to any artist. These are the questions posed in a new video by Amgueddfa Cymru/the National Museum Wales, which explores how Welsh artist David Jones used his sketchbook to shape and develop his work.
David Jones was more profoundly influenced throughout his life by the landscape, language and myths of Wales than any of his contemporaries. An extraordinary and multi-talented man, he occupies a unique place in twentieth-century British art, and is often called the greatest painter-poet since William Blake. It may seem a paradox that David Jones was born a Londoner, visited Wales regularly for just four years between 1924 and 1928, and never made his home here, reflective of a time when almost all Welsh artists were obliged to make their careers largely outside Wales. His inspirations, in both painting and in poetry, were his Catholicism, and especially the central mystery of the Mass, and the ‘matter of Britain’ the Arthurian Legends and the history of post-Roman Britain and these themes are reflected in the works in development within his sketchbook.
Here we see the sketchbook of Welsh artist David Jones, where you can see his detailed studies of animals which in turn informed the woodblock carving for his finished prints. By studying his sketchbook, we can identify when and where he was working and have a better understanding of what influenced the final work The Chester Deluge.
To find out more about the work of David Jones, and the exhibitions which showcase this work in the National Museum, visit the Museum’s website.