Alexander Charles-Jones was born in Gloucestershire in 1959 into a family steeped in horses, hunting and art. His father was a Master of Foxhounds and a film-maker. His mother was a talented painter and his three bothers and sister followed in their parents’ footsteps, making their careers in horse-racing, training and painting.
Alex showed precocious artistic talent and make his first sale to a dealer when aged eleven. In the same year his Primary School commissioned two watercolours, one of a horse and one of a hound, which were then presented to a visiting school governor. This early success was encouraged by Raoul Millais (1901-1999) one of the greatest sporting painters of the twentieth century, who spent much time and energy nurturing Alex’s talent.
“I Started seeing Raoul in is studio in Oxfordshire when I was about twelve and we kept in touch right up to the time of his death there or four years ago, He was an enormous inspiration and influence.”
I never attended art college, I just painted what I saw around me. I was brought up surrounded by horses in Gloucestershire and subsequently lived in Lambourn and Newmarket. Those centres of racing were my art college and the trainers and jockeys both my tutors and my harshest critics.”
As a professional painter for the last twenty years, Alex had completed many notable commissions. Probably the most important series was for the Courage Racehorse Owners’ Award from 1985 to 1995, featuring such names as Dawn Run, Desert Orchid, Norton’s Coin, Dancing Brave, Reference Point and Loch Song.
Coupled with his ability to paint is his talent as an amateur jump jockey. Few painters could claim to have won the Foxhunters at Aintree (1998) and the Foxhunter at Cheltenham (2000) on the John Manners’ trained Cavalero – an astonishing achievement.
Alex has now hung up his racing boots but is still to be seen at the races with his sketchbook. His work has been exhibited throughout the UK, France, Switzerland, Holland, Germany and North America.
Alex has the enviable combination of understanding the horse from the viewpoint of both jockey and painter. Those who know horses will instantly recognise his extraordinary talent to convey the beauty and muscularity of the animal and the buzz of expectation and excitement of the races, whether a Point to Point in windswept February or a July Meeting at Newmarket.
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