This watercolour of Caernarfon castle is by Samuel Maurice Jones (1853-1932), a Welsh landscape painter and illustrator. He worked mainly in watercolour and made several studies and paintings of fields near Caernarfon and the Conwy Valley. Influenced by English Romantic painters particularly J.M.W. Turner, his primary interest was in painting landscapes working outdoors (en plaine air). His sketchbooks from the 1880s and 1890 in the National Library Wales illustrates this.
This painting shows sheaves of wheat in a field with the castle in the background. There is a solitary figure to the left of the field, a common motif of his work. This painting is typical of his rural studies with an idealised pastoral character following the Romantic picturesque and landscape traditions.
Born in Mochdre, his father, Rev John Jones, was a Calvinistic Methodist minister. He attended the Caernarfon School of Art under John Cambrian Rowland, and later studied in London under William Collingwood. Collingwood was an Associate of the Society of Painters in Watercolours and provided Samuel with fundamental training in art.
Betws-y-coed became a destination for several artists from 1844, and from the 1860s as it became busier, artists began to migrate along the Conwy Valley. Jones was one of the Conwy Valley painters, and was a founding member of the Royal Cambrian Academy in Conwy. In 1882, he became the first Welsh-born Academician to be granted an Associate Membership, and became a full member in 1921.
Jones was prominent in launching a campaign in the Welsh language on behalf of visual culture, and supported this throughout his life. He contributed articles and illustrations to the literary publication ‘Cymru’ edited by Owen M. Edwards. In 1906, he organised the Art and Craft Exhibition of the National Eisteddfod Wales held at Caernarfon.
More paintings by Samuel Maurice Jones of Caernarfon including River Seiont and Coed Helen Lane are held at Caernarfon Record Office, Gwynedd Archive Service.
This painting is a new acquisition to the collection and is a gift from the Friends of Storiel.