Anh Mai - R3

While reading the first chapter of Graphesis by Johanna Drucker, a specific work caught my eyes. It is The Grammar of Ornament by Owen Jones. First published in 1856, The Grammar of Ornament is a folio consists of systematic presentation of ornaments, motifs and patterns of different cultures all over the world. After over 150 years, the book is still being printed today and contributes to one of the most "ambitious pattern book in the history of Western art" (Drucker, 2014, 29).

Before going details what includes in the book, let's talk about who Owen Jones is. Owen Jones (1809 - 1874) was an architect, designer and designer theorist. His studies concentrated on color theory, geometry and forms. Owen created The Grammar of Ornament not for young designers to copy but to encourage them to learn from the underlying principles of design from the history.

According to the National Museum of Scotland, "Jones funded the Grammar’s print run from his own pocket, at great expense. Working with lithographers Day & Son, he turned to the new and expensive technique of chromolithography. This elaborate method of printing required up to 20 separate lithographic stones and drawings, one for each color. These were then printed one over the other, layer over layer, to form the finished plate. For Grammar of Ornament, Jones’ assistants spent a year meticulously copying the original drawings on to lithography stones."

The book is structured is by being divided into different culture categories such as Arabian, Celtic, China, etc. and the last part is natural ornaments. The reason for this structure is that Jones wanted readers to recognized the similarity and trend of each culture of different time period to see how the designs evolved overtime throughout history. Below are some of the designs from the book.

Arabian No. 4, Plate XXXIV

Byzantine No. 3, Plate XXX

Celtic No. 3, Plate LXV

Chinese No. 3, Plate LXI

Chinese No. 4, Plate LXIL


Greek No 8, Plate XXII

Illuminated No. 1, Plate LXX

Indian No. 4, Plate LII and Indian No. 6, Plate LIV

Moresque No. 2, Plate XL

Leaves and Flowers from Nature No. 8, Plate XCVIII


Roman No. 1, Plate XXVI

Turkish No. 2, Plate XXXVII

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