For over 50 years John Jones framers has been at the centre of the artistic industry – and thanks to the increase of art in the home things are only going to get bigger as they unveil their new Finsbury Park building.
If we were in any doubt about the impact of John Jones over five decades, then arriving to meet Marketing Director Kate Jones banishes that. She’s slightly held up because she is giving a Japanese TV crew a tour of their new building – it’s not just those living in and around FinsburyPark who are excited about a new era for the company that originally launched as a traditional framer.
‘Twelve years ago you couldn’t even get a decent coffee around here,’ Kate laughs about the regeneration of FinsburyPark, free from the excitable Japanese team. ‘It really is becoming an artistic hub – you are seeing all sorts of interesting people launching businesses.’
John Jones’ original framing business in the 1960s quickly evolved to offer a broad range of services including art conservation, collection management and art installation. Nearly a decade in the making, the new John Jones building – a stone’s throw from the original – will ramp up these services, whilst also offering a public art space, which will have its own curator in the form of Cassandra Needham.
At the time of our visit, the new building was in operation with the exception of the public art space and it’s a thrilling place to walk around. Over 100 experts in their field are busy poring over artwork, and Kate shows us how they work from start to finish. ‘We are getting a lot more huge pieces of work coming in as the art industry is really strong,’ she says. ‘There’s a real confidence in the market at the moment, and that’s across all levels – from the big collectors to those buying art for their homes.’
The framing process is intricate and small tweaks – everything is bespoke – can really add impact to a piece of art. Everyone we meet is incredibly enthusiastic about what they do, and Kate’s knowledge is second to none. Marrying Managing Director Matthew, who along with brother Kristian took on the business from father John (sister Kelly is also involved), Kate can really offer an insight into what it means to be involved in such a successful business. ‘As a family, we feel really privileged to earn a living working with art and artists and having an insight into the work of so many different artists,’ she smiles.
With Park Theatre just down the road starting what everybody is seeing as the regeneration of Finsbury Park, John Jones will add even more oomph in this area that’s becoming a real creative hub. ‘To have proper street frontage now makes us feel more part of the community,’ Kate says as she takes us into the currently empty project space. ‘So we will not just be an arts business, we will have a project space where everyone is welcome to come in.’ From Angel to Asia, expect the name of John Jones to continue capturing everyone’s imagination.
John Jones, The Arts Building, Morris Place N4 3JG; 020 7281 5439; johnjones.co.uk
Five need to know facts about John Jones
- John Jones produces almost 1,000 frames per month, all hand-made by skilled craftspeople to a museum quality: it takes two years to fully train one of John Jones’ specialist gilding artisans.
- In the 1960s, John Jones himself used to swap frames for artworks with friends including Francis Bacon and David Hockney.
- John Jones produced the bespoke frame for the most expensive artwork ever sold at auction. Three Studies of Lucian Freud by Francis Bacon reached a hammer price of $142.4m.
- John Jones has a growing permanent art collection on display, including work by Richard Hamilton, Paula Rego and Irving Penn.
- They have designed solutions for presenting some unusual items including top hats, Olympic torches, model cars, high heels and gold plated rifles.