Adrian Jones

Name
Adrian Jones
Birth and death
1845 - 1938
Occupation
Profession details
Sculptor
Related place
Author
Carolyn Pennycook

Life in Elmbridge

Adrian Jones was commissioned by the Prince and Princess of Wales (later King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra) to design the Quadriga of Peace, which sits upon Wellington Arch at Hyde Park Corner. It was at the Prince's suggestion that the thirty-eight ton bronze Quadriga came to be mounted on Decimus Burton's Wellington Arch, replacing Matthew Wyatt's Wellington Statue which had up until that point been the arch's focal point. A friend of the Prince of Wales, Herbert Stern, later Lord Michelham, paid the entire cost of £17,000.

The sculpture took four years to complete, a process that Jones spent initially working at his studio in Chelsea and later at the foundry of A.B. Burton and Co. in Thames Ditton. It was erected in 1912, having been transported from the foundry in Thames Ditton to Hyde Park Corner by horse drawn 'boiler carriage'. Whilst in the foundry Jones would take afternoon tea with his assistants within the plaster cast of one of the Quadriga horses, and even celebrated the completion of his work by holding a dinner party for eight in the horse's belly.

Life Outside of Elmbridge

Jones was for almost a quarter of a century a Veterinary Officer, serving with the Royal Horse Artillery and eventually the Second Life Guards, having achieved a degree from the Royal Horse Veterinary College in Camden Town at the age of 21. Throughout his service years he had drawn and painted whenever the opportunity allowed, a passion since childhood, but one that had been discouraged by his father.

Towards the end of his military career he was tutored in sculpting by Charles Birch ARA, and at Birch's suggestion he exhibited a statuette at the Royal Academy, for which he was awarded first prize. Because his talent had not been honed through the usual academic route, but rather through his knowledge and love of animals, much gained in his military service, he suffered considerable criticism from Academicians - even to accusations of fraud! However, he prevailed and his genius was acknowledged.

Blessed with a strong constitution Jones offered himself in 1914 at the age of 69 for active service, but was refused. He remarked at the end of the war 'that was a thousand pities' because 'when the world tragedy came to an end I was still a vigorous man'!

Jones was never elected to the Royal Academy, though in 1938 was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Society of British Sculptors, and to quote from an article by Sherwin A Hall in the 'Guardians of the Horse' "This remarkable, flamboyant character deserves to be better known". His many sculptures and paintings are exhibited all over the world in parks, streets and galleries - his last being The Empty Saddle, The Iniskillings Memorial Statuette in bronze, unveiled at York in May 1929.

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