Saturday, 3 December 2016


An earlier blog - on Sunday 13 November - brought news of how the left-overs from a sale of Jago Stone paintings were discovered in an Oxford pub in 1972. In this blog I can go into more detail, having now sought and got permission to name the people I wrote about in that last Jago blog. I can also show the photographs of the other three Jago paintings that were the subject of this story and are now part of our home-gallery here in St Ives in Cornwall at the SW tip of the British Isles.

This attention to geographical location comes from my growing awareness of the American audience for the blogs that Louise and I produce. I now know where Dakota lies in relation to other US states and similarly where Seattle is in the state of Washington; these two locations are key to the American perspective in this fast-developing online detective story - the search for memories of Jago Stone, artist. Soon, I hope another blog will shed further light on the significance of these places in the Jago story - and bring you pictures of paintings of his that crossed the Atlantic to hang on the walls of a family home in the United States of America.

First, though, a sight of one of the other three Jago paintings connected with the 1972 Oxford discovery - 'Butter Cross, Witney, Oxon.', painted in 1971 shortly after he had moved on from the south Buckinghamshire area where Louise, my wife, and her parents, Ronald and Phyllis Watkins, had known him.

'Butter Cross, Witney, Oxon'. by Jago Stone (1971)

Jago, by the time of the 1972 Oxford  pub sale at The Chequers in the High (where this painting was later bought), had been free from prison for half a decade. His creative artistry had flourished and he

had been very productive. When he painted, his technique and skills were such that the works emerged in rapid flow. He recorded a revealing interview with a TV journalist in 1969 that shows him standing in front of a wall covered with his paintings (including one  that we now have!) in a car show room in Amersham (he knew the owner and had come to an arrangement). Again, in 1975, another TV interview places him in Priors Hardwick in Warwickshire. His role as the prolific 'resident' artist in the village is explored in this remarkable short film. Jago's 'residency' was of course temporary.

More of these two filmed encounters with Jago in the biography to be published in 2018.

I promised to put more flesh on the bare bones of the story of the Oxford discovery I told in the blog on November 13 a few weeks ago now I have permissions. The enterprising teenager whose Peruvian adventure holiday is being partly funded by the sale of Jago Stone paintings is Bertie Barrett. Louise and I have had the pleasure of meeting Bertie in person, with mum and dad and younger brother. A lovely family! We wish Bertie well in his future and hope and trust that he follows his dreams and achieves his ambitions. Watch this space. My default position is to side with the young. Powerful people from my generation have failed the young in society in largely unacknowledged selfish ways. Bertie represents for me the potential that won't be wasted in his particular case but is most severely constrained in many others. The future is for the young and our responsibility is to leave a mark that makes it easier - not harder - for them to fulfil themselves.

Bertie's grandfather is the former area manager of Ind Coope who had the responsibility for the central Oxford area. He is Graham Newsom, now eighty years old. Bertie's grandmother is Julie Newsom, who before her retirement as a licensed victualler broker found the painting of 'New College, Oxford' by Jago Stone and dated 1971 in the cellar of The Ampleforth Arms' in Oxford. Water-stained but still very pleasing to the eye. This particular painting might well have been one of the works successfully sold in the 1972 sale. Graham and Julie have been so generous and loving in gifting their valued collection of Jago Stone paintings to Bertie to sell to raise funds for his Peruvian adventure. Inspirational! Here is a photo of the painting of New College:  

'New College, Oxford' by Jago Stone (1971) 

The third and last of the paintings featured in this blog is Jago's untitled painting of a woodland scene looking towards a bridge on which two people are viewed. It is a work that has made more impact on me the more I see it. Here it is:

'Untitled' -  a woodland scene by Jago Stone (1971)

Two blogs then on the Oxford discovery - and six more pictures to add to the Jago Stone gallery and story. I hope you have enjoyed the journey into the past. Wait till you see what the online detective has discovered about paintings that crossed the Atlantic! And once again, please get in touch with any memories of this most singular artist, Jago Stone.


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