Wilson Online Reference
Thomas Jones, 1742-1803
Connection to Wilson
Biographical Details
Thomas Jones was a Welsh landscape painter and pupil of Wilson. From November 1761, Jones spent a year in William Shipley's drawing school, where he became a friend of John Hamilton Mortimer, his frequent collaborator. Later he attended the life class in St Martin's Lane Academy, but gained no confidence in his ability to depict figures. Convinced that his 'natural bias' was towards landscape painting, in March 1763 he persuaded Richard Wilson to take him as a pupil for two years. His journal includes a glimpse of Wilson rebuking Jones and his fellow pupils, William Hodges and Joseph Farington, for rowdiness: 'Gentlemen, this is not the way to rival Claude'. He completed his memoirs in 1803 (see Jones 1803).

Jones exhibited over fifty works at the Society of Artists of Great Britain between 1765 and 1780. By 1770, he enjoyed some success as a landscape painter and in 1771 he was elected Fellow of the Society of Artists and served as a director of the society in 1773-74. He continued to work on commissioned works and pictures for exhibition, but by 1770, when painting for his own pleasure, he had begun the unconventional habit of making small oil studies out of doors, painting 'little picturesque bits' of nature on primed paper small enough to fit into the lid of a painting-box.

Jones visited Italy in 1766 and many of the canvases he painted there pay homage to Wilson. Between 1784 and 1798 he exhibited ten paintings at the Royal Academy, mostly views in Italy.
Significant institutions
St Martin's Lane Academy; Society of Artists of Great Britain; Royal Academy