Exhibitions / Collections


Colin Herbert Beyne Jones (1928 – 1967) was born in Newport (Gwent), the only child of self-educated, intelligent parents who were determined that their son should have every opportunity available to him. He was not a very robust child and to ‘build him up’ he was sent to work on a farm in the Wye Valley every school holiday. His father, who was once a regimental boxing champion, also taught him to box. After leaving school at sixteen he went to Newport School of Art (1). The painter Thomas Rathmell, who was a great influence on him, taught him there. He chose to do his eighteen months National Service (2) in the middle of the course. When he left the army, there was a six months gap before his course restarted. He took a City & Guilds certificate in painting and decorating to give himself a sound understanding of his chosen medium; oil paint. He studied for his Art Teachers’ Diploma at Cardiff School of Art (3) where he met his future wife, the fine art weaver Jean Roberts. Ernest Zobole, Charles Burton and members of the Rhondda Group were also among his fellow students at the time.

His first teaching post was at Gowerton Boy’s Grammar School (4), the former school of the painter Ceri Richards. Whilst teaching there he was able to paint portraits of many local characters. The most notable of these was Ruth, who was a retired Penclawdd cockle gatherer. This picture was painted in dark tones with the fluid brushstrokes that he enjoyed before taking up professional portrait painting. Following this, his next appointment was at Quakers Yard Grammar School (5). Whilst there he became very much part of the Merthyr art scene. A striking portrait from this period was of the poacher Bill Power, painted in a similar style to his Penclawdd period. He also painted many landscapes with chapels and terraced houses with pigeon lofts.

During the late 1950s he began extra mural lecturing for the University of Wales, which included several lecture tours of France. His next appointment was Schools’ Services Officer (6) at the National Museum of Wales. This position allowed him to travel all over Wales; he often stayed in his VW campervan, which was also his mobile studio. He had become an accomplished portrait painter by this time. He could very easily have made a living from this aspect of his work but did not enjoy the compromise involved in pleasing his clients. He gave up painting commissioned work because of this, although he subsequently painted many fine portraits of his friends and family.