The Unsophisticated Arts
The Unsophisticated Arts, Barbara Jones
Little Toller Books
246mm x 186mm
Unsophisticated art is the art of everyday life. During the 1940s Barbara Jones set about documenting this everyday art throughout Britain, visiting fairgrounds, tattoo parlours, taxidermists, houseboats, high street shops, seaside piers and amusement arcades. She befriended people who lived afloat on redundant canalways and studied the way they decorated their boats. She spent day after day in workshops where roundabouts were made, and watched in awe as these labyrinths of wire and painted wood were slotted into place at the fair. Her journey was an epic undertaking and her achievement remains groundbreaking.
The Unsophisticated Arts was first published in 1951, the same year that Barbara Jones curated the ‘Black Eyes and Lemonade’ exhibition for the Festival of Britain. These two events were definitive in the history of popular art, creating a vibrant snapshot of culture in postwar Britain which has influenced generations of artists and designers ever since. Barbara Jones’s unique vision continues to inspire today, unlocking a way of seeing the world which celebrates the objects of everyday life and encourages us to find beauty in unexpected places.
Little Toller is delighted to include previously unpublished ephemera and art from Barbara Jones’s studio in our new edition, including watercolour, ink and pencil studies from her sketchbooks which reveal her lifelong fascination with vernacular art.