Irene Jones was born in Beeston, Nottinghamshire. Aged just 13, she attended an art school attached to the Nottingham College of Arts and Crafts where she later studied graphic design. She spent her early career working as an assistant set designer in repertory theatres in Nottingham and Colchester. Since 1970 she has lived on the Devon-Cornwall border, painting and participating in exhibitions at galleries in the south west including the Royal West of England Academy.
Until recently her work had been busy compositions in the vein of domestic realism however in 2009 she showed some small portraits, her "Tudor ladies" and her work turned direction. Irene's current work develops from this, paintings inspired by her love of medieval portraits and created from her imagination.
Her striking composition and the enigmatic look in her subjects's eyes are arresting, the poses, glances and controlled gestures engaging. Symbolic details, a closed book, crescent moon or specific flower suggest a narrative yet do not impose a story. The influence of her background in the theatre is evident, there is always the sense of interruption, of entering the drama mid action, her love of history and costume too is clear. However these paintings are not slavishly historical they are fixed in the 21st century; the themes of love, loss, desire, friendship and betrayal - timeless.