The Grammar of Ornament
Owen Jones first published this monument of design reference in 1856, in installments for subscribers. Since then have been many editions in many languages including modern reprints.
This beautiful and highly influential publication, illustrated with examples of historical styles of ornament is a classic in its field and still regarded with respect and consulted today. The choice of color used in the book was considered as important and influential as the designs.
The drawing in the plates are based on the massive collection of design patterns gathered by Owen Jones in his travels around the world and from collections residing in British Museums including the South Kensington Museum (now the Victoria and Albert Museum).
The Making of the Graphics
At first view the making of the graphics may be considered quite a simple task, lengthy and tedious, but simple. A more accurate look at the original graphics from the book shows that they are merely hand drawings without any accurate geometrical construction and often tricks of the brush were used to make the ends meet and the pattern look correct while it was not. To create the tiles and the corners of each drawing and each repeating pattern we had first to build the geometry and sometime we had to modify the proportions of the patterns to make them real and possible. Corners were inexistent and have been created for almost all the repeating linear patterns; the design of some linear pattern did not permit the creation of the corner. The EPS version of the graphics preserves in each file our original grouping of the elements, which facilitate the change of colors and/or the extraction of individual elements. All colors have been created as process colors and defined as global.
* The “Savage Tribes” definition.
Ornaments from Articles belonging to various Savage Tribes, exhibited in the United Services and British Museums.
Jones was obviously a true Victorian fellow and his sensibility was as expected. We do not share his sense that inhabitants of the Pacific Islands should be tagged as “Savage Tribes” and definitely no others.
Born in 1809 to a Welsh antiquarian and furrier, he studied architecture at Charterhouse School, London and was the apprentice of the architect Lewis Vuillamy. In 1832 he set for the Continent on a Grand Tour. His travels included Greece, Spain, Egypt, and Turkey. In Greece Jones met Jules Goury (1803-34), a young French architect; both travelers become fascinated by classical architecture polychromy. In Spain they undertook a detailed survey of the Alhambra. After Goury died of cholera in 1834, Jones completed their research and published it himself as Plans, Elevations, Sections and Details of the Alhambra in 1842. in 1841 he published an illuminated edition of J. G. Lockhart's Ancient Spanish Ballads. At the same time he was involved in architectural and interior design projects; the most successful was Christ Church (1840-42), Streatham, London, designed by James William Wild. Well known in the 1840s for the design of mosaic and tessellated pavements in geometric patterns; Owen Jones submitted in 1844 a design for the floors of the new Palace of Westminster, which, although praised, was not accepted. In 1851 Owen Jones was involved as Superintendent of the Works with the plans for the Great Exhibition, his tasks involved the decoration of the Crystal Palace designed by Joseph Paxton.
After the Great Exhibition, Jones was involved in re-erecting the Crystal Palace at Sydenham, London, where, with his friend Sir Matthew Digby Wyatt, he undertook the design and furnishing of the Fine Arts Courts.
As a result of coloring the Greek Court according to what he believed were the ancient methods, he was obliged to publish an Apology in 1854, in which he was assisted by his friend the philosopher George Henry Lewes.
In 1852 he began to lecture at the newly formed Department of Science and Art, which was founded by his friend Henry Cole. With Cole's help Jones evolved his principles into 37 axioms of design, which appeared in his influential publication the Grammar of Ornament in 1856.
Working in collaboration with the London firm of Jackson Graham, Owen Jones decorated many domestic interiors. For Alfred Morrison he decorated the interiors of his country house at Fonthill, Wilts, and his town house at 16 Carlton House Terrace, London, which contained some fine examples of Moorish and other styles. Owen Jones's most important decorative schemes for public buildings were those for the Langham Hotel and for the Fishmongers' Hall, both in London. Jones worked closely with several firms: he designed wallpapers for Trumble Sons and for Jeffrey Co.; carpets for James Templeton Co. and for Brinton; silks for Benjamin Warner; and numerous paper items for the firm of De la Rue, and many others. His association with De la Rue over thirty years covered virtually all the items produced by the firm, from playing cards to stamps. The packaging they produced from Owen Jones's designs for Huntley Palmer, the biscuit manufacturers, is an early example of the modern approach to graphic design and marketing.
Each decorative image and element is meticulously hand-drawn. Many advanced designers will find our vector file versions with the following desirable feature: preserved, original hierarchies and groupings to facilitate modifications and enable the extraction of unique elements. Though resolution-independent vector formats insure high-quality reproduction at any size and allow complete latitude for pre-production modifications, our CD collections also include common pixel-based file formats of each graphic and a vector format supported by Office applications for desktop publication.