Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

A party at Ote Hall

  • Object:

    Photograph

  • Place of origin:

    England (photographed)

  • Date:

    ca. 1900 (photographed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Jones, Charles (photographer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gelatin silver print

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased through the Cecil Beaton Royalties Fund

  • Museum number:

    E.392:2-2005

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, room 512M, case MX12, shelf X1028

Charles Harry Jones was a professional gardener and an amateur photographer. He made studies of fruit as well as images of the private estate, Ote Hall in Sussex, where he worked during the 1890s. He also photographed exciting events and discoveries, such as a local train crash, snake eggs and a vacuum cleaner.

Although little known in his lifetime, today Jones is known for his botanical images. His photographs of pears, posed against a neutral background to capture each specimen’s individuality, show his deep understanding of their plain beauty, brought about by tending them daily. The photographs are now now recognised for their simple appeal and their proto-modernist look. The combination of photographs in this album reveals much about Jones and life in Edwardian times.

Physical description

Black and white photograph in an album showing people on the lawn, croquet pitch in the foreground and house and tables beyond.

Place of Origin

England (photographed)

Date

ca. 1900 (photographed)

Artist/maker

Jones, Charles (photographer)

Materials and Techniques

Gelatin silver print

Dimensions

Height: 75 mm individual photograph, Width: 105 mm individual photogrpah, Height: 267 mm individual page, Width: 361 mm individual page

Object history note

This photograph is part of an album which was bought from Charles Jones' granddaughter, Shirley Sadler, in 2004.

Historical significance: The photographs in this album are a good example of amateur photography at the turn of the 19th century. The plain background of the photographs of fruit, for example, and the way that the characteristics of each variety are illustrated in great detail are similar in style to the later photographs of Edward Weston. It is for this reason that Charles Jones is considered proto-modernist from our 21st-century perspective. His prints are very high quality, despite the fact that he later used his glass negatives as cloches for growing vegetables in the garden. Photography was a working medium for Jones.

Historical context note

Charles Jones probably made these photographs as a record of his life as a gardener at Ote Hall, Sussex, and then his later life and events that happened around him. The botanical photographs could have been used commercially to illustrate seed packets. The photographs are not all arranged chronologically in the album. It is possible that Jones didn't compile the album himself. His son, Eric Gordon Jones, has written titles next to photographs in pen.

Descriptive line

Jones, Charles; photograph of people at a party on the lawn at Ote Hall, from an album dated about 1900.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Sexton, Sean and Flynn Johnson, Robert: Plant Kingdoms: The Photographs of Charles Jones London : Thames and Hudson, 1998.

Subjects depicted

Croquet; Parasol; Lawn

Categories

Photographs

Production Type

Unique

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.