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Wells artist prints portrait of B.C.’s first dentist

Bill Horne hand-silk screened the portrait with 11 colours in an edition of just 54 as a fundraiser
Portrait of Dr. William Allen Jones - screen print with gold ink - (c) Bill Horne. (Photo Submitted)

A new print from award-winning artist Bill Horne of Wells honours B.C.’s first dentist and is raising money for three important causes.

Horne, co-owner of Amazing Space Studio and Gallery in Wells, has hand-silk screened a new portrait of Dr. William Allen Jones and is selling a limited number of prints as a fundraiser.

This African heritage man was born in 1831 in Raleigh, North Carolina, and studied at Oberlin College in Ohio, according to a news release from Amazing Space Studio and Gallery. He emigrated to Salt Spring Island with his brothers Elias and John in 1859.

When the Cariboo gold rush began, William moved north, as did Elias. After a brief return to the U.S. after the Civil War’s end, he went back to Barkerville, where he practised dentistry, becoming the first dentist licensed in B.C. He died there in 1897, and visitors can see his clinic on Barkerville’s main street.

“When I read about some of the incidents of racist violence in Canada and the U.S. last spring, I wanted to respond as a visual artist,” Horne said in the news release. “Making a portrait tribute to Dr. Jones offered a way to illuminate an important chapter in B.C.’s Black history.”

The portrait was printed with 11 colours in an edition of just 54 as a fundraiser. Twenty per cent of the proceeds from print sales will go to each of the following non-profits: the B.C. Black History Awareness Society, Friends of Barkerville, and the Wells Historical Society. The artist is retaining 40 per cent to cover the costs of paper, ink, screens and shop overhead.

According to the B.C. Black History Awareness Society, William Allen Jones is listed as a miner in the British Columbia Directory of 1877-1889, but in recognition of the skills he had acquired as a dentist, he was granted a licence on June 26, 1886, under the British Columbia Dental Act — although he may have been practising dentistry as early as 1865.

Horne has posted step-by-step photos of the printing process and a link to the order form for this print at

For more information, contact Bill Horne at

READ MORE: Wells artist wins international screen printing award

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