"NOT ONLY A NOTABLE ILLUSTRATED BOOK, BUT A GREAT BOOK TOUT COURT": OWEN JONES' MAGNIFICENT ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ORNAMENTAL DESIGN, WITH 100 BRILLIANT COLOR PLATES, 1856 LARGE FOLIO FIRST EDITION
JONES, Owen. The Grammar of Ornament. Illustrated by examples from various styles of ornament. London: Day and Son, 1856. Large folio (15 by 22 inches), contemporary three-quarter brown morocco rebacked and recornered, original spine and spine label neatly laid down, brown cloth boards. $7800.
First edition of this design classic, with "illuminated" half title and 100 beautiful chromolithographic folio plates on heavy card stock of Jones' catalogue of ornamental designs from throughout history and around the world. A splendid large folio volume.
This monumental work traces the evolution of ornamental design throughout history, with 100 sumptuous illustrations that reflect the varied expressive and stylistic preferences of different cultures. With highly detailed patterns colored in rich, naturalistic hues, Jones sets forth the basic principles of color theory and design used across the world. Includes brilliant full-page illustrations of the geometric designs of the ancient civilizations of Greece, Rome, Egypt, and Persia, along with the more ornate decorative patterns of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, which strongly influenced Victorian design. The magnitude of this undertaking and the brilliance of the illustrations make this "a vital document in any consideration of philosophies of design in the Victorian period" (McLean, 58). "Of the hundred folio plates chromolithographed by Francis Bedford from his drawings several thousand individual examples are compactly but harmoniously arranged. Moreover, Jones' rationale of ornamental art, stated in his preface and in 37 propositions concerning 'the arrangement of form and color in architecture and the decorative arts,' gives him a perspective from which to interpret this immense mass of data… Jones' remarkable synthesis is not only a notable illustrated book, but a great book tout court… the culminating work of Jones' career" (Ray, 145, 144). Ray, The Illustrator and the Book in England 228.
Light foxing to some tissue guards, and only occasionally to a few plate margins. One plate (44) with faint dampstain at lower margin, touching caption but not image, rest of the plates generally quite clean and fine, colors vivid. Binding fine and handsome. An excellent copy of this impressive monument to fine design and ornament.