The Grammar of Ornament
Friday, 31 March 2006
The Grammar of Ornament – Owen Jones
Eric Gjerde has uploaded scans of a set of pages from the exquisite ‘The Grammar of Ornament’ by Owen Jones which was originally published in 1853. There’s a great range of designs here featuring decorative motifs from the Byzantine, Chinese, Indian, Persian and Moorish cultures among others, often employing tessellated patterns. The nature of these patterns, with their properties of repetition, iterative transformation, as well as subtle natural colour palette, should make them of interest to artists and designers of all kinds
Not surprisingly Jones Owen was a product of Victorian prosperity; educated at Charterhouse and then the Royal Academy.
‘His observations of decorative art on his extensive travels in Europe and the Near East were employed to improve the poor quality of Western design. His goal was to change the Victorian habit of mixing elements from a wide variety of sources and applying this mix indiscriminately to buildings, graphic design, and products.’
The Grammar of Ornament includes Owen’s personal manifesto of the ‘General Principles’, offering guidance to the designers of the future – particularly in strategies regarding colour.