He was born at Finchampstead as Godfrey Jervis Gordon, and educated at Marlborough College and Truro School of Mines. He was a painter, lithographer, and etcher, and exhibited his work in Britain, Europe, and America. But he was also an art critic, who wrote for The New Witness, The Observer and Athenaeum, and Land and Water. He published Modern French Painters in 1922. He also wrote travel books with his wife, the painter Cora Josephine Turner.
Jan Gordon and his wife Cora visited Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia in 1915 in the scope of their service in the Royal Free Hospital relief unit led by the eminent physician James Berry (later knighted) and his wife, who was also a doctor. They were helping the Serbian people who were under attack from the Austro-Hungarian forces advancing south, and who were also suffering dreadfully from recurrent Typhus epidemics. Jan and Cora’s adventure was told in their first book ‘The Luck of Thirteen’, later reprinted as ‘Two Vagabonds in Serbia and Montenegro’. Jan Gordon made several drawings from Skopje and other parts of Northern Macedonia as illustration of this book. Detailed information about the life and work of Jan and Cora Gordon can be found on the web page: http://janandcoragordon.co.uk