In 2015, my father-in-law died and we inherited a Jago Stone water-colour of her childhood family house and one untitled oil painting by Jago.
We already had the oil painting Jago had given to my wife, Louise, in 1970 when she was a teenager. He had now decided to move on from the Gerrard’s Cross district in Buckinghamshire after arriving around 1968.
Three other oil paintings by Jago had already been passed to us by my wife’s parents in their lifetime, works they had either commissioned or bought. We liked living with his work and admired the expressive and raw emotion of the oils.
With the arrival of the World Wide Web, we began to google ‘Jago Stone’ and became intrigued by what we found. Over the years, more information emerged.
In 2015, I finished writing ‘The Road to Corbyn’ and the idea of writing a biography of Jago Stone was born. By now, I had splashed out on one of the very few copies available of ‘The Burglar’s Bedside Companion’, Jago’s own out-of-print autobiographical account of part of his life. I was hooked. This was a story worth telling and hearing.
When I set up this website in January 2016, I was able to establish an online detective agency. At that early stage, it was a journey into the unknown, dependent on following cyberspace trails. But the power of the oils and the charm of the water-colours have always been firm fixtures in this story, as is Jago’s own published writing. My blog-posts tell the story of the online discoveries about Jago and his work in the thirty or so months that followed.
By March 2018, my biography of Jago was complete. My focus turned to finding a literary agent or publisher. In late August, submission no. 28 – to Unicorn Publishing Group - came up trumps. By October, Lord Strathcarron and I had signed the contract.
The biography was published by Unicorn in the UK in March 2020 and in the USA in June 2020. By September 2020, the book had received twelve 5-star Amazon reviews and been long-listed for the William MB Berger Prize for British Art History. In late October 2020, for legal reasons, Jago Stone’s biography was withdrawn from sale and all available copies pulped.