Jones, George (1786-1869) (DNB00)

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JONES, GEORGE (1786–1869), painter, born on 6 Jan. 1786, was only son of John Jones (1745–1797) [q. v.] the mezzotint engraver. George Steevens, the Shakespearean commentator, was his godfather. He became a student at the Royal Academy in 1801, and from 1803 to 1811 was an annual exhibitor of portraits, views, and domestic subjects. The Peninsular war, however, attracted him to a military life, and he entered the militia and volunteered for active service. He joined the army of occupation in Paris after Waterloo. At the close of the war he resumed his profession, took up military subjects, and painted many graphic and accurate representations in the battles in the Peninsula and Waterloo. In 1820 his picture of Waterloo, with Wellington leading the English advance, was awarded the British Institution premium of one hundred guineas, and was purchased by the directors, who presented it to Chelsea Hospital. He painted the victories of Vittoria and Waterloo for the king and Lord Egremont, and of his numerous views of the latter battle one is now in the Scottish National Gallery, and another in the United Service Club. His ‘Battle of St. Vincent—Nelson boarding the San Josef,’ was purchased by the British Institution in 1827, and presented to Greenwich Hospital. In 1822 Jones was elected an associate of the Academy, and in 1824 a full member. From 1834 to 1840 he was librarian, and from 1840 to 1850 keeper. His zeal and activity in the latter capacity was much appreciated by the students. From 1845 to 1850, when Sir Martin Shee was incapacitated by ill-health, he acted as president on all public occasions. Jones recorded on his canvases many passing historical events, such as ‘The Prince Regent received by the University and City of Oxford, June 1814’ (engraved), ‘The Banquet at the Coronation of George IV,’ ‘The Passing of the Catholic Relief Bill,’ and ‘The Opening of New London Bridge.’ He also painted views of continental cities. His ‘Orleans’ is at Woburn Abbey, and his ‘Rotterdam’ at Grosvenor House. Latterly he executed a great number of drawings in sepia and chalk of biblical and poetical subjects, and depicted the battles of the Sikh and Crimean wars. In the last year of his life he exhibited at the Academy ‘Sketch of the Conquest and Destruction of Magdala,’ as well as two large pictures, ‘Cawnpore—Passage of the Ganges,’ and ‘Relief of Lucknow,’ which he presented to the National Gallery.

Jones was Robert Vernon's chief adviser in the formation of his collection, and four of his works were included in it. He was an intimate friend of Chantrey and Turner, for both of whom he acted as executor; and in 1849 he published ‘Recollections of Sir F. Chantrey.’ He was a genial, well-bred man, strongly resembling the Duke of Wellington in appearance. Jones died in Park Square, Regent's Park, on 19 Sept. 1869.

Many of Jones's drawings were in the collection formed by his friend, Charles Hampden Turner, at Rook's Nest, Tandridge, Surrey; and the print room of the British Museum possesses some good examples of his water-colour art, besides eleven volumes of academical studies, bequeathed by him. His portrait of Sir Charles Napier, sketched in oils, is in the National Portrait Gallery.

He married, in 1844, Gertrude Anne, daughter of Major Wintringham Loscombe, who survives.

[Sandby's Hist. of the Royal Academy; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Athenæum, 25 Sept. and 2 Oct. 1869; National Gallery Catalogue; Graves's Dict. of Artists, 1760–1880; information from Mrs. Jones.]

F. M. O'D.