Jones, Owen (1809-74; Welsh)
The Grammar of Ornament (London, 1856)
Acquired 1857
State Library of Victoria [RARESF 745 J72]

This famous book featured 112 chromo-lithographed plates surveying the history of design, with a view to distilling principles that contemporaries could use to create their own original designs.

The plates, prepared by Francis Bedford and printed by Day & Son, were meticulously produced using up to 20 separate colours. Waring and Wyatt also contributed to the text. Many of Jones’ original drawings for the book are held in the V&A.

The SLV also holds several later editions, including a copy of the 1868 reprint published by Quaritch, London.

In the catalogue of the 2013 exhibition “Free Secular and Democratic,” the SLV, noting that Edward La Trobe Bateman worked on the preparation of the 1856 book with Jones, adds that “its influence can be seen in his [Bateman’s] decorative schema for Queen’s Hall.”

[photo: Persian no.2 (plate XLV)]


MPL 1857, iii, p.20 (& MPL 1861; listed in both cases as published in 1857)

Reproductions of several plates from the 1856 edition are available via the SLV catalogue, including the illustration reproduced here; complete reproductions of other copies of the 1856 edition held elsewhere are available online.

For Jones’ original drawings, see Among various recent studies of the book, see J.Jespersen, “Originality and Jones’s The Grammar of Ornament of 1856,” Journal of Design History 21.2 (2008)

For the link with the decoration of Queen’s Hall, see [all websites cited accessed 5 March 2021]