Royston Jones has been studying late eighteenth century architecture for as long as he can remember. In his early days in Suffolk, he made regular visits to Heveningham Hall, spending hours studying the plasterwork, making notes, taking measurements and soaking in its beauty. He did a great deal of research on architecture of the period 1760-1820 at the National Monument Record, then in Savile Row, London, systematically going through their boxes of photographs. He travelled around the country by bus visiting as many buildings of the period as possible.
A few years later, Royston took Fiona to Heveningham. She was introduced to the works of James Wyatt, Biagio Rebecca, painter, and the exquisite plasterwork of Joseph Rose II. That was way before the 1984 fire that destroyed the Library and the Drawing Room at the eastern end of the house. After the fire the owners needed help. Fiona and Royston took this opportunity to photograph the building in great detail making use of workmen’s scaffolding to take dimensioned sketches of the ornamental details as a record in case of further accident and for their own archive on the works of Wyatt and his contemporaries.
At Heveningham they met Dr John Martin Robinson, author of ‘The Wyatts, an architectural dynasty’, a prolific writer on the period, books and articles, and an historic buildings consultant. Fiona and Royston were invited to his house in Lancashire where their ideas and discoveries on Wyatt were discussed over the years with a plan for a book. In 2009, John was asked by Yale to write a book spanning Wyatt’s career. He sent draft chapters to Fiona for editing and ‘James Wyatt architect to George III’ was published in 2012. The Jones and Gray contributions were generously acknowledged by John in the book. Photographs from their archive were included as well as one of Royston’s watercolour perspective views, of the Heveningham Entrance Hall.
Research is ongoing as further information comes to light.