Jago Stone was released from HM prison at Blundeston in the summer of 1967. He emerged through those prison gates as a redeemed man, his war with society over. He had found salvation through his artistic skills; Jago had won a national art prize and become the very model of the rehabilitated ex-con. His thieving days were over. From now on, he would earn an honest income by painting images of the homes that in the past he might have considered burgling.
In August 2017, Hana Geraghty left a Facebook message on the Jago Stone: A Biography page that my web designer, Steve McIntosh, had set up. She explained that she had picked up a small painting by Jago Stone and wanted to know a little more about it. That story is told in my biography (p.151-2) and I will return to it later in this blog-post - but for the moment it serves as an introduction to this tale that came my way through cyberspace on the last day of August, last month.
David Hall sent me this email:
Good afternoon Rob,I came across a small advertisement in the Autumn edition of This England magazine for your book, The Remarkable life of Jago Stone, which immediately aroused a memory.
In September 1967 I was a 13 year old boy living in the village of Overstone in Northamptonshire. I can clearly remember one day, most likely a Saturday or Sunday as my father was at home, a young dark haired bearded guy riding a Lambretta scooter, knocking the door and asking if we would be interested in a water colour "sketch" of our house, a fairly ordinary modern detached house in Sywell Road.
My father agreed and the guy got to work producing firstly a sketch in a black artist's pen, to which he added water colour to complete the picture for what I can only assume to have been an attractive price.
The picture was framed and hung in my parents'# house and later in my mother's bungalow until she passed away in 2007. Since then it has been in our office and when I read about your book, I immediately went to the office and to the picture of our house, named "Vazon" and which clearly shows the signature of Jago Stone, September 1967.
I guess the picture isn't worth a lot in monetary terms, but at least now feel that we own some serious piece of art.
I will be ordering your book and look forward to learning more about Jago Stone, who briefly touched my life some 53 years ago.
I will send you a photo of the picture.
Wow! - the magic of being the researcher and author-turned-detective. Very soon, David had said I could use his name and story and the image of "Vazon" in a blog-post. Thank you, David!
Here is "Vazon":
|Vazon - Jago Stone (September 1967)
I love it. There is a freshness and vitality about such a picture. And you see it again in the image of "Sheldon" which is the name of the house that Jago had painted a month earlier - the picture that Hana Geraghty had told me about. After we made contact, it became clear that Hana's watercolour by Jago ofSheldon - a modern house like Vazon - was available to buy and it soon became part of our collection. I had been attracted not just by the quality of the painting but by the date of the painting. Jago had signed and dated the work: 'Aug. 12 1967'.
Here is "Sheldon":
|Sheldon - Jago Stone (Aug 12 1967)
Two years later, Jago Stone walked up the driveway of "Farthings" in Gerrard's Cross in Buckinghamshire to be greeted by the teenager, Louise Watkins and her two dogs on the doorstep. She later became my wife - which is how my involvement in the Jago story began. That story is told in the biography too. If you have not yet got a copy - or if you are thinking of presents for family, friends and/or Christmas - here's the link to press to find an online retailer:
Here is "Farthings":
|Farthings - Jago Stone - 1969
I hope you have enjoyed this focus on Jago Stone's work from the 1960s. To finish with a flourish, here is another of Jago's paintings from that decade - dated 1968 with the name of the place where he had a studio added: Bardon (in Somerset). Here is the prize-winning artist at his best:
|Untitled - Jago Stone - (Bardon 1968)