This short article gives a brief look at the life and work of a young, Llanelli-born artist who, in a short lifetime (he died at the age of twenty-seven), became an important figure in British Art, and is deservedly recognised as Llanelli’s most famous artist.
Since his death, in 1914, his significance as an artist has received recognition in several exhibitions, including one at Southampton Art Gallery in 1977, which subsequently went on to the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, The Fine Art Society, London, and Manchester Art Gallery. In 1961, an exhibition was held at the Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield, and subsequently at the Glyn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea, and the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth.
In 1982, the work of Innes, together with that of his two close friends, Augustus John and Derwent Lees, was exhibited at the Mostyn Art Gallery, Llandudno, under the title ‘Some Miraculous Promised Land: J. D. Innes, Augustus John and Derwent Lees in North Wales 1910-13.
In 1987, Llanelli itself arranged an exhibition to commemorate Innes’s birth, with the artist’s works being exhibit in the Nevill Memorial Gallery, Llanelli Public Library. Moreover, Innes’s importance as an artist is recognised by the wide range of important British art galleries that hold examples of his works, and particularly that a fine collection is held by the Tate Gallery, London. A good collection of his work is also held by the Parc Howard Museum and Art Gallery. This article, therefore, seeks to explore what it was about Innes that brought such acclaim.
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