Illustration taken from ‘The Anatomy Lesson’ a short story
by Evan S. Connell jr. (Lilliput Magazine 1960)
In memory of Eric Jones RA (1904-1962)
Teacher of anatomy, life-drawing, and architecture at Sheffield College of Art and Crafts, Brincliffe
Eric Jones was a Tolkien-like, Bohemian figure with lank greying hair and goatee Van Dyke beard sprouting from yellowing parchment-like skin. Always dressed in an old army duffel-coat and open-toe sandals. Eric Jones' sole task in life was to teach the basic skills of anatomy and life-drawing sitting beside us on an artists' donkey and sketching the model with great dexterity using both left and right hands with equal skill.
He also taught human physiology and anatomy using a life-size green plaster cast of a male torso with all the muscles and tendons exposed. Well I remember those lessons, their knowledge of the anterior superior illiac spine, the gluteus maximus, and the lattisimus dorsi, all learned from Eric Jones' patient explanation of the human physiology from Dunlop's 'Anatomy'. Finally, he also taught us the history of archtecture introducing us to the Italianate glories of Andrea Palladio and Inigo Jones - 'No relation', he added dryly. Having won a scolarship to Florence before WWII, Eric Jones read and spoke Italian fluently, often reading aloud to the class.
Eric Jones rejected discipline from every quarter, and that included the college principal, John Harwood. Using his command of Italian to good effect when yet another tedious directive was issued from 'the powers above'. In the middle of life class, having been handed yet another small brown envelope from Harwood's secretary, he studiously read the contents. Furrowing his brow, he earnestly addressed the class; 'Una notizia molto importante ...', then proceed to read the entire contents in Italian adding with a wry mischievous smile, 'I'm sure you didn't understand a word of that!' At that, the entire class, including the model, would burst out laughing.
A well-known customer at the The Banner Cross Tavern well in his cups, he would stand on a table reciting Shakespeare - in Italian! Nearby he had a small sparsely furnished bed-sit. Apart from simple table, chairs and a cot, the only furnishing was a single large print of Picasso's painting, 'Guernica'.