Wednesday 3 May 2017


As some of you may know who have read my website - see this link - or who know me in person, I have a number of personae. It is no doubt true that my running persona has taken much of my focus since January 1 as I trained for my London marathon charity run that took place on Sunday. But the running has not been at the expense of the writing persona. Far from it. The biography of Jago Stone the artist has made considerable headway in that same time-frame - the first four months of 2017.

Ann Hathaway's Cottage - Jago Stone (1976)

My last two Jago Stone posts in February displayed images of Jago's paintings that now hang in the United States - thanks again to Laina Baker - and also one that is in Wiltshire - thanks to  Alastair Mould for that picture. I also wrote about my excitement at having the opportunity to listen to Jago being interviewed on BBC Radio 4 in 1971. Thanks to a lot of detective work, I was able to spend several hours in a listening booth in the British Library, transcribing the words of the artist himself. The very stuff of biography. Here is a link to take you into my blog-sphere.

But there has been much else besides. On January 1, around lunchtime, I received an email from someone who had known Jago from 1974 through to the early 80s. He chooses to remain anonymous and this new source for the biography I have christened 'Mark'. Mark's account - based on our email

contact and telephone conversations - I have written up in pre-publication form and Mark has read, amended and approved this draft. Mark it was who put me on the trail of  the village postmistress in Northants who, in his words, 'might have something to add to the Jago story'. She did indeed. Jenny Fell has chosen not to remain anonymous and she and Tony her husband have provided me with much new material too. This I have also written up and Jenny -  who is also the village's very fine local historian - has read, amended and approved this  pre-publication draft.

The English Village - Jago Stone (1986)

There have been other links and contacts that have surfaced in the course of following up Mark and Jenny's leads. More on those another time. For the present, just this much as a literary taster.

The English Village - (detail) - Jago Stone (1986)

However, in my own head - as the artist's biographer - I have such a more compelling understanding of the man as a result of all that has come my way since the start of the year. It seemed therefore serendipity when my copy of The London Review of Books, 30 March 2017, fell open on a page carrying an advert for 'The Biographers' Club Tony Lothian Prize 2017' . I was stimulated into making a submission that has meant putting together a 9-page synopsis, a 10-page sample  chapter, a CV and a note on the market for  the book and competing literature. in other words,  the biography has its first tangible shape; the structure is established. 

The English Village - (detail) - Jago Stone (1986)

This enterprise is of course determined by the material I receive. If you are reading this and you have stories about Jago and you haven't shared these with me, do please make contact - through the website, by email, by post, or through Facebook. I am writing the biography of a remarkable man whose life story is compelling. It seems to me that whatever his faults and limitations, however much hurt and distress his actions caused, there were people whose lives he touched who were the richer for the experience. I want to do full justice to the man and the artist.                           

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