BRIEF RECORD OF A BIRD ON BOUGH 1948
David Jones (1895 – 1974)
- 50 X 37 CM
- PENCIL AND CHALK ON PAPER
- Accession number
David Jones, whose primary material was paper, always preferred to work from the comfort of his own room.
I always work from the window of a house if is at all possible. I like looking out on to the world from a reasonably sheltered position. I can’t paint in the wind, and I like the indoors outdoors, contained yet limitless feeling of windows and doors. A man should be in a house; a beast should be in a field and all that.
However in 1948 his circumstances were confined by necessity. Following a nervous breakdown the year before (a similar nervous illness had previously come about following a spell of rapid creative output in 1932), he spent seven months in recovery in Bowden House, a private nursing home in Harrow, Middlesex. As part of his treatment, Jones’ psychiatrist urged him to keep drawing. On 24th August 1948, Jones wrote:
I have to try and paint now. I paint trees from my window. It’s part of the creative game, as, in their judgment, I’ve now reached a period when I must paint, because they maintain that my major conflict displays itself in reaction to painting and it must be fought out in that terrain – that’s not the whole story – but a very different part of it, whatever the inclinations, results, difficulties, feelings etc. etc.
Residential life suited Jones’ sheltered practice; he was to stay as a resident boarder in Harrow for the rest of his life, in Northwick Lodge until 1964, then Monksdene Residential Hotel until 1970.
Brief Record is a slight sketch. Pencil strokes move faintly from top right to bottom left, drifting across the paper as if in tune with the direction of the breeze. Yellow chalk lends the image a warm glow. Whereas Jones’ interest in British history resulted in drawings that from this time were increasingly dense, this sketch speaks of his abiding love of the natural world. It looks back to a series of drawings made in London Zoo between 1930–31, and even further, to the animal drawings in his earliest existent childhood sketchbooks: Leopard and Tiger or Lion (both 1902), or the drawing made as a seven year old that he professed to prefer to anything made later, Dancing Bear (1903).
 Ede, H.S., ‘David Jones’, Horizon, Vol. VIII, No. 44, August 1943, p.131
 Hague, René (ed.), Dai Greatcoat: A Self-Portrait of David Jones in his Letters (Faber & Faber, London 1980), p.134  Ironside, Robin, David Jones (Penguin Modern Painters, London 1949), p.2
Jones, David, In Parenthesis (Faber & Faber, London 1937)
Ede, H.S., ‘David Jones’, Horizon, Vol. VIII, No. 44, August 1943, pp.125–36
Ironside, Robin, David Jones (Penguin Modern Painters, London 1949)
Jones, David, The Anathemata (Faber and Faber, London 1952),
David Blamires, David Jones, Artist & Writer (Manchester University Press, 1971)
Hague, René (ed.), Dai Greatcoat: A Self-Portrait of David Jones in his Letters (Faber & Faber, London 1980)
Hills, Paul, David Jones M(Tate Gallery, London 1981)
Blissett, William, The Long Conversation: A Memoir of David Jones (Oxford University Press, 1981)