Ray was a notable war artist and Art Central was pleased to show many of her works in a recent exhibition to commemorate the D-Day landings.
Art Central Gallery recently played host to a talk given by Professor Tony Curtis on behalf of Art Central FRIENDS about the life and work of this eccentric and highly amusing, talented lady. Ray Howard Jones was born in Berkshire to a well to do family but came to live in Penarth with her grandparents when she was quite young. She did her first painting at the age of eight from the gate house window in Tenby and from then on she delighted in painting the landscapes and scenes of Pembrokeshire where she spent much of her time, when not at her home in London.
A classically trained artist at the Slade School, she became one of the very few accredited female war artists during WWII and painted the preparations for the D-Day landings taking place in and around Barry and Cardiff. Later, she and her partner Ray Moore were temporary wardens of the island of Skomer, where not only did she love to commune with nature in her birthday suit but spent hours sketching the wildlife and painting the wonderful landscapes which the island afforded.
It was the way she felt of becoming closer to God, whose presence she felt in the very fabric of her surroundings. She had a fine descriptive way with words and wrote amusingly and often to her friends and especially to her sister whose letters were punctuated with poetry and sketches of what she had seen, as she also fancied herself to be a poet. Much of her work is held in private collections but Tenby Museum and the National Museum of Wales have many, many examples of her work as does the Imperial War Museum in London. Professor Tony Curtis has not only helped curate the exhibition in Barry but supported by the University of South Wales and Tenby Museum gave a highly informative, insightful and amusing talks at all venues on the exhibition’s tour, which began in September 2013 in Tenby. To see and learn more about Ray Howard Jones just Google her name and you will find many examples of her work.