Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Really Old Old-School Artist: A. Garth Jones

Every so often, I get lucky and stumble across a really old old-school artist of whom I've never heard. In the case of (Alfred) Garth Jones, I found his name in a minor entry in Modern Book Illustrators and Their Work—which in a few weeks will be officially 100 years old, so... uh... not so modern now as when the book was published. This is a book I've used before as a starting point for seeking out more really old old-school art. Somehow, I've heretofore missed the mention of Garth Jones. It's no wonder, though. Take a look at the book yourself, and you'll see how much great illustration is in there, and how you could research any number of artist represented therein, and not realize you'd missed a couple.

I happened to get the Google ebook result for this book (as opposed to the link above) while searching for another illustrator's work (but at this point I couldn't tell you who that was). A short paragraph that begins on page 11 and finishes up on page 12 speaks of illustrations for "Poetry, fantasy, and romance." Jones's name is mentioned alongside the likes of Edmund Dulac, Byam Shaw, and OSR favorite John D. Batten.

Just a couple of biography bullet points and I'll get on to showing some of Jones's work.
Jones starting using his middle name of Garth (Alfred is his given name) to distinguish himself from artists with similar names. (Although I can't find specifics, I would imagine this includes Edward Burne-Jones, Alfred Roller.)

Demand for his work as a book illustrator declined after World War I. (In an age where folks like Virgil Finlay and Hannes Bok were creating new dialects for the evolving language of illustration, I imagine that Jones's style was become a bit unfashionable.)

Compared to the quantity of work Jones produced before World War I, his post-WWI output seems to pale by comparison.

I love the look of the penwork, and how even his pen and ink feels like woodcut.