The Grammar of Ornament

Owen Jones (1809-1874) and Published by Day and Son, London, 18561856

Hudson River Museum

Hudson River Museum

Owen Jones was a designer and architect but is best known for this masterpiece. The lavish compendium documents that the image of flower as decoration reached across the globe and back to ancient times. He was an influential teacher of design theory and intended The Grammar of Ornament to reach a wider audience of makers and consumers of artistic goods.

Jones believed that flowers should be stylized, flattened into abstract designs when used decoratively:
“Flowers or other natural objects should not be used as ornaments, but conventional representations founded upon them sufficiently suggestive to convey the intended image to the mind, without destroying the unity of the object they are employed to decorate.”

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  • Title: The Grammar of Ornament
  • Creator: Owen Jones (1809-1874), Published by Day and Son, London, 1856
  • Date Created: 1856
  • Date Published: 1856
  • Provenance: Gift of Mrs. Melba Estes, 1976
  • Subject Keywords: Exhibition: Floral Arrangements: Highlights from the Collection, Flowers
  • Type: color lithographs
  • Publisher: Day and Son, London
  • Medium: drawn on stone by F. Bedford