The Grammar of Ornament  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Grammar of Ornament is a book by Owen Jones (1856).

The first 19 chapters presented key examples of ornament from a number of sources which were diverse both historically and geographically - notably examining the Middle East in the chapters on Arabian, Turkish, Moresque (Alhambra) and Persian ornament. The final chapter, titled ‘Leaves and Flowers from Nature’ acknowledged that “in the best periods of art, all ornament was based upon an observation of the principles which regulate the arrangement of form in nature” and that “true art consists of idealising, and not copying, the forms of nature”. Christopher Dresser, Owen Jones’s most well-known protégé, contributed one of the plates in this final chapter, and he was concurrently presenting theories on natural-form ornament in his famous botanical lectures at the Government School of Design in the mid-1850s.

The Grammar was hugely influential in design schools in the latter half of the nineteenth century, and is still in print today, maintaining its relevance as a source of inspiration for contemporary designers.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Grammar of Ornament" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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