Sunday, 25 December 2016

JAGO STONE - THE AMERICAN CONNECTION - PART 3

Writing this on Christmas Eve, 2016, I can't quite believe it's been less than a week since I received an email from the States with the title 'Jago Stone'. Monday 19 December was the date of this my first communication from Jessica Raber.

"Hello,
My name is Jessica Raber and I'm an artist in Bloomington, Indiana, USA. Merlin Porter told me you are putting together a book on Jago Stone and I wanted to offer any assistance I could provide ..."

For new readers, Merlin Porter is Jago Stone's youngest son. Merlin is also an artist and lives in Oxford. Read through my collection of blogs on Jago Stone for more about Merlin and pictures of his work. Google him to find his own website. Jessica had discovered Merlin in her own online search for more information about Jago a few years ago. Google Jessica Raber for her website.

"... My family was stationed at Upper Heyford during the 1980s and my parents commissioned a number of works from him (five that I'm aware of). I believe they all date from between 1984 and 1986 ... "

Jessica's parents live in Missouri and she is, as I write, with them to celebrate Christmas together. She has sent me pictures of these five commissions in the course of the last day or two.
Jessica has two watercolours in her possession - quite tiny, about 2.5 inches square, and dated 1986. They are unlike any other paintings of Jago that I've seen so far. Her parents have in their home a Jago Stone painting of the Church of St Peter and St Paul, Kings Sutton, in Northamptonshire.

The Church of St Peter and St Paul, Kings Sutton - watercolour by Jago Stone, dated 1986 


They also have an extraordinary Jago work that Jessica's mom requested depicting a "typical English village". And they have the picture painted by Jago of their home in Bicester, in Oxfordshire. Jessica tells the story as her email continues:  

"I was rather young at the time so my memories of Jago are rather hazy, but I'm sure my parents




would have some memories to share. My one firm memory is from (I believe) 1986 when Jago painted our house in Bicester and I was watching him at his easel. He playfully sketched me looking out from one of the windows, so I  am proud to say that I featured in a Jago Stone work!

Please let me know if I can provide you with any other information I can dig up. Being an artist myself, this project is of great interest to me!"

For all  readers, can you imagine my excitement? Christmas 2016 had most definitely arrived early. I wrote back, sharing the detail that Merlin had playfully added our two teddies to his picture of Louise and I in the Sloop Inn in St Ives, Cornwall which he painted early this year. Like father, like son.

Next following this Aladdin's Cave of an email and its successors let me share with you the pictures of the two tiny works of art that Jessica has sent me. She wrote: "I took the pictures in natural  sunlight to hopefully show off Jago's brushwork. Even at thirty years old they look like they were painted yesterday. If these depict actual locations nobody in my family knows where they are. As I said before, they've always struck me as a bit 'generic' but of course I may be wrong. Real locations or not, I treasure them. I hope you enjoy them, too."

Oh, we do, Jessica. Thank you so much for sharing them. These are late Jago pieces that sing of Impressionism.




Remember, 2.5 inches square!




I think finally for this blog the picture of the family home in Bicester with a very young Jessica at the window.

Number Seven, Blencowe Close - R.A.F. Bicester, Oxfordshire - The Pue Family English Home - Watercolour by Jago Stone (1986)


The last of the paintings - ' The Typical English Village' - is an extraordinary creation and that one I'll keep for the biography to be published in 2018. It will be worth the wait! I hope you feel, like me, that this late work of Jago Stone, featured in this blog, is particularly successful and accomplished.

So, on Christmas Day 2016, I send my heartfelt thanks to my American friends - Becky Bender and Gene in South Dakota, John Michael Adamski in Washington State and his father, John "Adam" Adamski, and Jessica Baber in Indiana and her parents, Dianna and Howard Pue in Missouri - who have enriched everyone's lives by their generosity in sharing their pictures that Jago Stone painted. If there are others out there in cyberspace who remember Jago, please do get in touch. My website will soon have a "Page for America" that's designed to keep American viewers in touch with my writing. Thanks I think largely to  Becky and Gene, our page views for websites and blogs are around 250 a day and largely from the United States of America. This project has become truly international.