Owen Jones (British, 18091874)
Publisher: Bernard Quaritch, London
Thomas J. Watson Library (152 J721)
Owen Jones' mission was to "arrest that unfortunate tendency of our time to be content with copying without attempting to ascertain the peculiar circumstances which rendered an ornament beautiful." An ornamentalist, architect, writer, and design reformer, Jones' theories and achievements greatly influenced British design in the second half of the nineteenth century. He lectured at the Government School of Design and was instrumental in the construction of the Crystal Palace for the 1851 International Exhibition in London. When the Crystal Palace moved to Sydenham, he became Director of Fine Art, designing Egyptian, Grecian, Roman, and Hispano-Moresque courts. In the 1830s, Jones developed the technique of chromolithography, a method for color printing that became popular by the 1860s.
While traveling through Greece, Turkey, Egypt, and Spain in the early 1830s, he developed a passion for Classical, Islamic, and Hispano-Moresque polychrome architecture and arts. As a result of his time in Spain, he published Plans, Elevations, Sections and Details of the Alhambra (184245). In 1856, he published The Grammar of Ornament, an encyclopedic compilation of designs, including historical, non-Western, primitive, and botanical sources. In this book, Jones established thirty-seven guidelines or propositions addressing "the arrangement of form and colour." Rather than directly copying from original sources, Jones advocated abstracting ornament in a logical, geometric manner that resulted in highly stylized, flattened patterns.