Monday 25 May 2020


My latest Jago Stone Mailchimp Newsletter was written and circulated a few days ago and has been seen by 45 people - 65% of those who have subscribed at some point over the last four years. Following the usual pattern, I am now recycling that Newsletter as a blog-post in order to widen the circulation of its contents - specifically, in this instance, to tell the story of the Daventry Express Review last week and share a couple of pieces of correspondence from across the Pond. It's also an opportunity to brighten up your screen with a further reminder of some of Jago's finest artwork! 

Untitled - Jago Stone (1971)

This MailChimp newsletter is another opportunity to share the feedback that I have received to date from readers of 'The Remarkable Life of Jago Stone'.

Many of you will have seen the blogpost that I published on May 6 and also posted on Facebook. Here's the main thrust:

'I couldn't resist sharing this [an online review from Frost - see below] having received the alert
this morning from Lauren at my publisher, Unicorn, that it was out there in cyberspace.

Lauren also told me that my biography of Jago Stone has been nominated for the long-list of the William MB Berger Prize for British Art History. How cool is that!'
Here's the Frost Magazine review:

'Stone wrote after a stint in clink:  Since prison … I have probably sold more paintings than any other artist in the country. 
Well, during his 18 years in prison burglar Stone found a new vocation. Painter. Consequently he was a dedicated supporter of rehabilitation in prison, of which he was the embodiment.
This biography reveals the life and times of this award winning artist. Here was a man who pushed the boundaries of conformity, and also his talent. The author Rob Donovan explains that the research became a detective story, an irony with would probably have been enjoyed by the ex-prisoner as he  criss-crossed the UK and the US,  and whose paintings found homes both sides of the Atlantic.  Have we all got an artist in us?   It’s a fascinating story, thought provoking.  You’ll enjoy it, and probably start hunting for lost Jago Stone’s.'

Untitled palette-knife -  Jago Stone (1969)

I'm not sure the image of Jago criss-crossing the UK and the US is quite right but no matter. Hopefully, the biography sold a few more copies as a result of this fine review.

That is also the hope after today's publication of The Daventry Express which carries an excellent review of Jago's biography written by Tony Fell from Hellidon. Those of you who are familiar with the Jago story will remember that Jenny Fell was (and still is) the postmistress of Hellidon and Tony is her husband.

Here's the review:

I am waiting for news of publication in the USA which was scheduled for around 20 May. [I now know publication in the States is scheduled for 5 June 2020] Let's hope I can focus on that news in the June edition of this newsletter. Meanwhile, here's a couple of responses from Americans who are at the heart of the Jago story and have been such important sources for me - Jessica Raber and Becky Bender. They are now very much our dear friends.

 Hi Rob,
I woke up this morning in a pretty foul mood related to forced isolation and unfolding global catastrophe.  The sun came out around midday, and I went for a pleasant walk in the woods-- which helped my mood considerably-- and then arrived home to find that a real physical copy of the Jago biography (signed by the author, no less!) had been delivered by my postal carrier!  Now I've gone from Doom and Gloom to Over the Moon in fewer than 12 hours.  Thank you so much!  I've only just had a chance to skim through it so far, but it is a really breathtakingly beautiful book.  I am so looking forward to sitting down with it and giving it a good read/viewing over the next few days...  Fortunately I've got plenty of time!
Thank you again-- for the lovely autographed book, and for bringing Jago back to life after all these years!
All the best,

The Old Wool Market, Chipping Campden - Jago Stone (1971)

Dear Donovans All!
Okay, I cried.  I had to restrain myself from reading your book in chapters and NOT sitting down and reading it all in one go.  Pacing myself through the pages, I found myself drifting back to a time when I was very happy living in a beautiful place and sharing that wonderful time with Don and all my British and American friends.  I wandered the roads through Bloxham again and I heard the roar of the F-111s taking off from Upper Heyford.  The pictures and places shown in the book gave me the chance to take out my 1979 "New Book of the Road," Reader's Digest AA map book and look up all the names l listed  and then remembering driving down the lanes of many of them.  It was, and is, so  bittersweet.  I am thrilled I took my Jago Stone watercolor off the wall that day and looked up his name on the internet!  Your online detecting was marvelously placed  between the covers of this book!  I can still see that flamboyant artist sitting in my driveway  and painting away on that sunny afternoon in 1983.  Thank you for your detective work, your own artistic writing talent, your dear wife's inspiration through her inherited paintings  that led you to start your detecting (and, I'm sure her help) and the serendipity that led me to finding Jago again and having him "drawn out" in your biography.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  You know I'll read this book many times and probably still wind up crying every time...

I count myself blessed having met such lovely people following this cyberspace trail as a 21st century digital detective. Thank you Jessica and Becky - and all my sources and contacts on both sides of the Pond.


Untitled palette-knife - Jago Stone (Bardon:1968) 

Please, please - add your own reviews on line on Amazon or Waterstone's  or send to me by personal email when you finish reading. This is hardly the best time to have a book published and sales will, to some extent,  depend on word-of-mouth recommendation. If you can help publicise the virtues of a cracking good read, Unicorn and I will be very grateful.  

Kenneth Griffith and Jago in the Notley Arms, Exmoor - 5 February 1969

  Here are the links for ordering copies of the biography of Jago Stone:




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