Skip to main content
University of Cambridge

Open: Tuesday–Sunday, 11am–5pm

Please note we are closed on Bank Holiday Mondays

Book Tickets

Open: Tuesday–Sunday, 11am–5pm

Please note we are closed on Bank Holiday Mondays


Quia per Incarnati, c. 1953

David Jones
Watercolour and graphite on paper
500 x 380 mm
[DJ 12]
On display

About the artist

Born 1895 – Died 1974

Read the full biography


Jones’s inscriptions are generally regarded as an aside to his literary and artistic work. However, as Nicolete Gray has done, it could be argued that they in fact represent the core of his work, “his most complete expression of himself” and the medium in which his two main interests, poetry and painting, came together.

The inscription reads: “QUIA PER INCARNATI VERBI MYSTERIVM (For by the mystery of the Word made flesh) NOVA MENTIS NOSTRAE OCVLIS LVX TVAE CLARITATIS INFULSIT (the light of thy brightness has shone anew into the eyes of our mind) MINERVA JOVIS CAPITE ORTA (Minerva has sprung from the head of Jove). As an explanation Jones wrote on the reverse of the work: “From the Preface of the Mass of the Nativity used from the Midnight Mass of Xmas until the Feast of the Epiphany and was used also, and very appropriately, on the Feats of Corpus Xti until a decree of the Sacred Congregation of Rites for some inexplicable reason, disallowed its use on Corpus Christi some years back, I think in the late nineteen-fifties. This seems very regrettable, because its use on Corpus Xti provided a liturgical link between the Word made Flesh in the stable and what is made present at the Mass. The words round the margin Minerva Jovis capite orta were proposed (I think by one of the Pontiffs in perhaps the sixteenth century, not sure) as expressing the Eternal Generation of the Son from the Father, but the proposition was not found acceptable.”

Provenance: gift of the artist to H.S. (Jim) Ede, 1969.