Alfred Janes

Alfred Janes photographed in 1936 in his studio in College Street, Swansea. Photo courtesy of Hilly Janes

Last updated: 03 March 2011

Alfred Janes was a talented painter and draughtsman, one of the many from the Swansea School of Art, whose interest in music and science was often reflected in his work. (Photograph courtesy of Hilly Janes.)

Alfred George Janes was born in June 1911 over a fruit shop owned by his parents in Castle Square, Swansea. He studied at Swansea Grammar School and later attended Swansea School of Art.

He exhibited at the Treorchy Eisteddfod in 1928 at the young age of 16 and when he was just 19, Janes was commissioned to paint the then Mayor of Swansea, Councillor Arthur Lovell.

Alfred Janes' Boy With Apples, oil on canvas. Property of BBC Cymru Wales

Alfred Janes' Boy With Apples, oil on canvas. Property of BBC Cymru Wales.

In 1931, while at the college in Swansea, Janes won a scholarship to the Royal Academy Schools in London. During his time in London Janes flat shared with Dylan Thomas and Mervyn Levy.

He returned to Swansea in 1936 and taught part time at the school of art, having only completed his studies there five years previously. Janes signed up for service in World War Two, was enlisted in the Pioneer Corps and spent two and a half years in Egypt working in a prisoner of war camp.

After the war he returned to Swansea and his teaching post at the school, and for a period in the 1950s lived on the Gower Peninsular.

Janes taught at the Croydon College of Art from 1963 and consequently moved to Dulwich, where he would live until his death in February 1999.

Portraits of his close friends (and fellow members of the Kardomah Gang) Dylan Thomas, Daniel Jones, Vernon Watkins and Mervyn Levy are currently held in the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery in Swansea.

In addition to the Glynn Vivian - who held a retrospective of his work in 1999 - the National Museum of Wales and University of Wales Swansea hold examples of his work.

The Oriel Kooywood Gallery in Cardiff will hold an exhibition in March and April 2011 to mark Janes' centenary.


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