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George Fowler Jones

Born in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1819, George Fowler Jones was the son of Major Lloyd and Charlotte Jones. His earliest artistic training in lithography and drawing ignited a passion for photography, which he reportedly studied under the tutelage of William Henry Fox Talbot. After deciding on a career as an architect, Mr. Jones apprenticed with William Wilkins, and after Mr. Wilkins' death in 1839, he joined the Yorkshire office of Sydney Smirke. By 1843, Mr. Jones was working as an independent architect, ably assisted by Peter Kerr. Together, the duo's ambitious projects included Aberford's Gasgoigne Almshouses (1844), and several Scottish landmarks that include a Nairn church and picturesque lodges at Kilravock Castle and Castle Grant (1844-1845). One of Mr. Jones's largest and most prestigious commissions was the enlargement and restoration of the Brodie Castle Old Stables. His increasing prominence in architectural circles led to his July 1846 lecture at York's Archaeological Institute. Problems with the Brodie project resulted in a significant decline in his Scottish business, and so he concentrated full-time on lending his expertise to the design and renovation of Yorkshire schools and churches. His peers officially recognized his many professional achievements by naming Mr. Jones a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects.

Mr. Jones married and became the father of son Gascoigne Hastings Fowler Jones in 1850. After his wife's untimely death, he married Catherine Pigeon, daughter of a wealthy York family, in August 1857. Together, they had two sons – Henry McKenzie and Robert Colquhoun Fowler Jones - both of whom later became successful architects in their own right. By 1860, Mr. Jones began incorporating his love for drawing and photography into his architectural projects. When the church at Yorkshire's Stonegrave Minster was rebuilt, it was the watchful lens of George Fowler Jones' that captured the painstaking restoration process. His impressive amateur photographs were exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts. Mr. Jones experimented with various types of glass, nitrate, and paper processes until the early twentieth century. He spent nearly a half-century perfecting the use of Gustave Le Gray's ceroline paper negative techniques. He also assembled a vast collection of early photographic works and generously donated negatives developed by William Fox Talbot and one of Sir David Brewster's earliest calotypes. He retired to Yorkshire in 1893, and died at his Quarry Bank home on March 1, 1905. More than 2,000 of George Fowler Jones's negatives were donated to the Royal Photographic Society and are now part of the National Media Museum collection.


Ref:
2014 Dictionary of Scottish Architects (URL: http://www.scottisharchitects.org.uk/architect_full.php?id=200144).

2007 Encyclopedia of Nineteenth-Century Photography, Vol. I (New York: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group LLC), p. 783.

2008 George Fowler Jones, ca. 1890s, by photographer W. P. Glaisby (URL: https://www.flickr.com/photos/palmerjones/sets/7215762374556018).

2014 Robert Thornton - Ampleforth Benefice (URL: http://www.ampleforthbenefice.org/Thornton.html)


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