National Library of Wales

Jonah Jones Papers

Reference code(s): GB 0210 JONJON

Held at:

Title: Jonah Jones Papers

Short title: Jones, Jonah, papers

Dates of creation: 1946-2004

Level of description: Fonds

Extent and medium: 0.036 cubic metres (4 boxes)

Name of creator(s): Jonah Jones


Administrative and biographical history: Jonah Jones (1919-2004) was an artist and writer.
Leonard [Jonah] Jones was born on 17 February 1919 near Wardley in County Durham and was the first child of Norman, a miner, and Florence Jones. He received his secondary education in Jarrow and attended night classes at the King Edward School of Art in Newcastle before he was called up for National Service. He was a member of the 224 Parachute Field Ambulance in the 6th Airborne Vision during the Second World War, 1940-46, and took part in the Ardennes campaign. In 1947 he married Judith Maro and settled near Penrhyndeudraeth in 1948. They had two sons and a daughter. He worked with Brenda Chamberlain and John Petts at the Caseg Press in 1947. David Jones, the artist-poet was a great influence on his work. In 1948 he established his own workshop at Pentrefelin, Gwynedd, and moved in 1966 to a new house near Portmeirion. His early work can be seen at Portmeirion. Between 1974 and 1978 he was the Director of the National College of Art and Design in Dublin and Gregynog arts fellow in 1981. His workshop was important to his working philosophy. In 1991 he moved his studio to Llantrisant.
Jonah Jones received a number of commissions for stained glass, sculpture and inscriptions and his work has been exhibited widely. In 1970 he was responsible for the David Lloyd George panels in Westminster Abbey and a memorial plaque also for Dylan Thomas in 1982. He also created wall sculptures for Coleg Harlech, Mold Crown Court and North Wales Constabulary in Colwyn Bay and a plaque for the Taliesin Arts Centre in 1984. He has produced a number of portrait busts, including John Cowper Powys, Bertrand Russell, Sir Huw Wheldon, Sir Clough Williams Ellis, Gwynfor Evans and Gwenlyn Parry, and also painted in watercolour. The bronze figures of Sir O. M. Edwards and his son Sir Ifan ab Owen Edwards in Llanuwchllyn in 1982 were created by him. One of his favourite materials was Welsh slate. In 1983 he received the Queen's Jubilee Medal for service in the arts.
His two novels A tree may fall and Zorn were published in 1980 and 1986 respectively and a biography Clough Williams-Ellis - architect of Portmeirion was published in 1996. A retrospective exhibition was held in St David's Hall in Cardiff, 2002. Jonah Jones died on 29 November 2004. In 2006 Scene and Word Limited was established by his family in order to develop 'Cofio Jonah Jones', a project to record and celebrate his life and career.


Scope and content: Papers of, and relating to Jonah Jones, 1946-2004, including correspondence and papers associated with his artistic work, exhibitions and experiences during the Second World War.


Language/script: English.

System of arrangement: Arranged at NLW in four series: correspondence, exhibitions, lectures and articles, literary papers and miscellaneous papers.

Conditions governing reproduction: Usual copyright regulations apply.


Accruals: Accruals are possible.

Immediate source of acquisition: Donated by Mr Peter Jones, son of Jonah Jones, Reading, March and October 2007, September 2010 and June 2011.


Related units of description: Letters from Jonah Jones are in the New Welsh Review and Kyffin Williams Archives. Photographs of him at work are in Casgliad Geoff Charles Collection, including his sculpture of Tryweryn, working on a memorial plaque for Bob Tai'r Felin and at the unveiling of the bronzes of O. M. Edwards and his son Sir Ifan ab Owen Edwards at Llanuwchlyn. His bronze busts of John Cowper Powys, Clough Williams-Ellis and Lord Morris of Borth y Gest are held at the National Library of Wales.


Note: Title supplied from contents of fonds. Original file titles, where present, have been retained; some headings supplied by the donor Peter Jones. Within many of the files are background notes to the archive prepared by the donor.

Archivist's note: Compiled by Ann Francis Evans. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Peter Jones, Jonah Jones: an artist's life (Bridgend, [2011]); Harri Pritchard Jones, 'Jonah Jones: cerflunydd ac awdur', Taliesin 69 (1990); Peter Jones, 'Jonah Jones : the making of an artist', Cambria, Vol. 12, no. 1 (2010), obituaries by Euan Cameron, The Guardian, and Meic Stephens, The Independent; and papers within the Jonah Jones archive.

Rules or conventions: Description follows NLW guidelines based on ISAD(G) 2nd ed.; AACR2; and LCSH

Date(s) of description: May 2014.



Artists | Wales

Jones, Jonah | Archives

Sculptors | Wales

World War, 1939-1945

Personal names

Jones, Jonah

Corporate names