Allen Jones

Allen Jones RA (born 1 September 1937) is a British pop artist best known for his paintings, sculptures, and lithography. He was awarded  the Prix des Jeunes Artistes at the 1963 Paris Biennale. He is a Senior Academician at the Royal Academy of Arts. In 2017 he returned to his hometown to receive the award Honorary Doctor of Arts from Southampton Solent University.

Jones has taught at the Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg, the University of South Florida, the University of California, the Banff Canter School of Fine Arts in Canada, and the Berlin University of the Arts. His works reside in a number of collections; including the Tate, the Museum Ludwig, the Warwick Arts Centre and the Hirshhorn Museum.  His best known work Hatstand, Table and Chair, involving fibreglass “fetish” mannequins, debuted to protests in 1970.


“For my generation anyone who wanted to cut the mustard had to reckon with Abstract Expressionism…. I’ve never wanted to show the struggle involved in the making of the work, and to make it part of the painting the way it is with Pollock or de Kooning. That’s just not me; constitutionally I couldn’t abandon the figure. But I had to find a new way of doing it. Abstract Expressionism had swept everything away. You couldn’t go back to representing the figure through some moribund visual language.”

— Allen Jones, 2014

Jones was born in Southampton, the son of a Welsh factory worker, he was raised in the west London district of Ealing.  Jones had an interest in art from an early age. In 1955, he began studying painting and lithography at Hornsey College of Art in London, where he would graduate in 1959.  At the time the teaching method at Hornsey was based on Paul Klee‘s Pedagogical Sketchbook from the 1930s. While a student at Hornsey, Jones travelled to Paris and the French region of Provence, and was particularly influenced by the art of Robert Delaunay.  He also attended a Jackson Pollock show at the Whitechapel Gallery in 1958, and according to Jones, “for me it was outside any known frame of reference. The scale, the ambition, the freedom. I felt like suing my teachers for not telling me what was happening in the world.”

He afterwards travelled to see the Musie Fernand Léger in the French commune of Biot, and in 1959 he left Hornsey to begin attending the Royal College of Art.

As one of the first British pop artists, Jones produced increasingly unusual paintings and prints in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and in particular enjoyed combining different visual languages to expose the historical constructions underlying them.

According to Jones, about his early ambitions,

“I wanted to kick over the traces of what was considered acceptable in art. I wanted to find a new language for representation… to get away from the idea that figurative art was romantic, that it wasn’t tough.”

He was part of a unique generation of students at the Royal College, among which his fellow students were R. B. KitajPeter PhillipsDavid Hockney and Derek Boshier, but was expelled from the Royal College of Art in 1960, at the end of his first year. Explained by Mark Hudson in The Telegraph many years later, “horrified at the new developments brewing among their younger students, the college’s academic old guard decided to make an example of someone. They chose Jones”.  Dismayed, Jones signed up for a teacher training course and returned to his studies at Hornsey College of Art in 1960, graduating the following year.

“The price of being controversial is usually increased fame, but for Jones it has resulted in his work being ostracised in this country. Allen Jones is an immensely charming, erudite and sophisticated artist who uses colour, subject and form in inventive and intriguing ways. His career deserves to be properly reassessed.”

Andrew Lambirth, The Spectator, 2014

“People ask if Jones is objectifying women. He says he’s a feminist – the woman is the subject, the sculpture is the object.”

Edith Devaney, curator of ‘Allen Jones RA’ 2014


Notable Exhibitions & Collections

In 2007-8 solo exhibitions of his work were exhibited simultaneously at Tate Britain and The Royal Academy of Arts.  A large retrospective exhibition, “Off the Wall”, showing sculptures, paintings, prints and drawings from 55 years of his career, toured through Europe, with further venues in South America.

RA Exhibition 13 November 2014 – 25 January 2015.  Few artists inflame debate like Allen Jones. Celebratory, satirical, and boldly inventive, his work embraces popular culture and has in turn influenced everything from design to film and fashion.

This long-overdue appraisal spans the entire career of British Pop artist Allen Jones, from the 1960s (when alongside peers like Hockney and Caulfield he was closely associated with the rise of Pop Art) to the present day.

 Commissions have included large scale mural projects for Fogal in Basle and Zurich, and two major London restaurants; monumental steel sculptures for London Bridge City, the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London, Taikoo Place in Hong Kong and Glaxo SmithKline world headquarters, London.  In 2006 he installed 10 metre high sculpture commissions for the Yuzi Paradise Sculpture parks in Shanghai and in Guilin, China. Two large works have more recently been acquired by the city of St Louis, USA and the Barada Foundation in Lisbon.

In 2008 a large scale, 5-piece sculpture was commissioned and completed at Chatsworth in Derbyshire, and two suspended pieces have been installed at the headquarters of Allen & Overy in Spitalfields. Additionally, he has undertaken many private sculpture commissions in the UK and the USA and is currently working on a monumental commissioned piece for a site in London measuring 9m x 20m x 9m .

He has designed for the Royal Ballet and the Ballet Rambert in England, and for West Deutsche Television in Cologne and Thames Television in the UK.  Additionally, he has designed three books and had a further four books published about his work.


Lithography – printmaking process in which a design is drawn onto a flat stone (or metal plate, usually zinc or aluminum) and affixed by means of a chemical reaction.  The highly technical and time-consuming process, paired with the authenticity of the artists hand is what makes lithographs so valuable.

Screen-print – a process where ink is forced through a mesh screen onto a surface, except areas made impermeable to the ink by a blocking stencil.

Etching – a picture produced by printing from a metal plate that has been etched with acid