Peter Jones

Peter Jones was born in 1968 in Birmingham, UK. He lives and works in London, UK.

He is known for his portraits of old toys and stuffed animals.

He saw a postcard of a mummified cat, which gave him the idea to collect and paint antique monkeys.

Peter Jones once said, in an interview, “this is something I realised as the paintings progressed. The inanimate objects in front of me were coming to life on the canvas and the paintings were metamorphosing from still lifes to portraits before my eyes. Conceptually, the monkey series always dealt with the specific symbolic meaning of the monkey – that of a primitive or pre-civilised version of man, the barbarian if you like. I had always wanted to create a large series of these monkeys paintings, a troop of them in fact, and one of the great things I discovered is that there is such a wide variety of old and antique monkey toys available – the different materials, the condition and character, and their age and where they were originally manufactured. As I continued working on this series, I experimented in how I was portraying the toys. Initially I was aiming for a realistic vision of them, in all their tired and torn glory, but as they progressed, they became more vibrant and colourful.” (Jones 2016)

He then expanded his collection to include lambs and dogs, which he thought represented faith and innocence. He searched on ebay.

He also said, in the same interview as mentioned before, “I suppose you could view them as self portraits exploring different facets of my personality, but like the toys we are given as children, I think of them as blank until we create our own characters for them.” (Jones 2016)

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Jones, P Hen [photograph] at: (Accessed 19/04//2021)
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Jones, P the owl [photograph] at: (Accessed 19/04/21)
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Jones, P green monkey at: (Accessed 19/04/21)

I find Peter Jone’s style very appealing and it has a haunting quality. He manages to bring the toys to life and each has its own distinct character.

I enjoy his style, it resurrects a piece of my childhood, though the toys look a bit lost and abandoned. His paintings possess the element of realism yet in a cartoonish sort of way. The eyes of the characters seem to have a soul. and speak to the audience. They seem alive.


Jones, P. (2016) Peter Jones: The Small Things Matter. At: (Accessed 19/04/2021)

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