Synopses & Reviews
An excellent resource for artists, designers, architects, craftspeople, or anyone interested in the decorative arts. First published in 1856, The Grammar of Ornament remains a design classic. Its inspiration came from the pioneering architect and designer Owen Jones. 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. His resulting study is a comprehensive analysis of a remarkable collection of styles of ornamental design -- from Ancient Egypt and Greece to Imperial China and Renaissance Italy. With its sumptuous illustrations, its detailed survey of individual cultures, and its manifesto of "General Principles," it offered guidance to the designers of the future. In this new edition the designs are further illuminated by Iain Zaczek's perceptive commentaries. Hugely influential since its first publication, The Grammar of Ornament inspired great figures such as William Morris and Frank Lloyd Wright. Contemporary designers, entertained by the archaic charm of Jones's descriptions, are struck by the book's enduring relevance and its soundness regarding the essential principles of good design.
Includes the more than 2,350 beautifully engraved patterns and designs found in the original version.
About the Author
Owen Jones was an architect and designer who taught at the South Kensington School of Design, London, during the 1850s and served as joint architect of the Great Exhibition of 1851. The following year he was appointed Director of Decorations for the new Crystal Palace exhibition in Sydenham, south London. The Grammar of Ornament, his legacy to designers, quickly acquired the status of a classic. He died in 1874. Iain Zaczek, who has contributed the commentaries, is an art historian who graduated from Wadham College, Oxford University, and the Courtauld Institute, London. He has written on a wide variety of topics, but his special interest is in nineteenth-century art. He is the author of The Essential William Morris, The Essential Art Deco, and The Art of Illuminated Manuscripts.