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Provenance

Arthur Tooth and Sons, London
Jacqueline Hope Wallace, CBE

Exhibitions

Tate Gallery, London, David Jones, 21 July - 6 September, 1981, cat no.39

Literature

Paul Hills, David Jones, Tate Gallery, London, 1981, cat no.39, p.84

Description

Painted in 1926 while David Jones was living in the lay community Eric Gill had established at Capel-y-ffyn in the Black Mountains, Goats on a Mountainside is one of that group of Welsh landscape subjects in which Jones first achieved maturity as a watercolorist. Considering that he had only ‘found’ himself as an artist five years or so before when he first met Gill at the Ditchling Community of Craftsmen, the vibrant, restless brushstrokes and intense, pale luminosity of colour that Jones seems to achieve so effortlessly in this lyrical landscape are astonishing. It is an entirely idiosyncratic style too, quite unlike the calm serenity of design so evident in Gill’s drawing of this period. When Jones had first arrived at Capel-y-ffyn at Christmas 1924 his work was still recognisably influenced by Gill but a period spent living with the monks on Caldey Island off the South Wales Coast in 1925, painting mostly the sea and rocky coastline, seems to have enabled him to develop his own distinctive way of working. It is one that, for many critics, places him among the finest British watercolorists of the inter-war period.