A Design Classic

Originally published in 1856, Owen Jones’s Grammar of Ornament is still in print, with its most recent re-publication this year by Ivy Press.

Title page from original 1856 edition

Title page from original 1856 edition

Owen Jones was an architect and designer who taught Applied Arts at South Kensington School of Design in the 1850s and Superintendent of Works at the Great Exhibition of 1851.

The Grammar of Ornament represents Jones’s theories on design and features patterns and ornament from around the world from sources as diverse as ancient Egypt to India and China and in particular the Islamic world.

Moresque No 5 Plate XLII Design for tiles

Moresque No 5 Plate XLII Design for tiles

Jones’s theories on the use of colour, geometry and abstraction continue to resonate with designers today. It was the definitive sourcebook in 1856 and remains so today.

Get inspiration for your own designs by viewing the original edition held in the Art & Design Library’s collections. Recent editions are available to borrow through our catalogue.

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