Owen Jones (15 February 1809 – 19 April 1874) was a London-born architect and designer of Welsh descent. He was a versatile architect and designer, and one of the most influential design theorists of the nineteenth century. His theories on flat patterning and ornament still resonate with contemporary designers today. He rose to prominence with his studies of Islamic decoration at the Alhambra Palace, and the associated publication of his drawings, which pioneered new standards in chromolithography. Jones was a pivotal figure in the formation of the South Kensington Museum (later to become the V&A) through his close association with Henry Cole, the museum’s first director, and another key figure in 19th century design reform. Jones was also responsible for the interior decoration and layout of exhibits for the Great Exhibition building of 1851, and for its later incarnation at Sydenham. Jones advised on the foundation collections for the South Kensington museum, and formulated decorative arts principles which became teaching frameworks for the Government School of Design at Marlborough House. These design propositions also formed the basis for his seminal publication, The Grammar of Ornament, the global and historical design sourcebook for which Jones is perhaps best known today.
Jones passionately believed in the search for a modern style unique to the nineteenth century – one which was radically different to the prevailing aesthetics of Neo-Classicism and the Gothic Revival. He looked towards the Islamic world for much of this inspiration, using his carefully-observed studies of Islamic decoration at the Alhambra to develop bold new theories on flat patterning, geometry and abstraction in ornament. The V&A’s Word & Image Department holds the world’s most comprehensive collection of Owen Jones material - including travel sketches, illuminated books, wallpapers and original design drawings for tiles, textiles, furniture, metalwork, interior decoration and architecture. Other departments within the museum hold examples of his furniture and textiles.
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All patterns taken from the book 'Owen Jones (V&A Pattern)' by Abraham Thomas
*not to be used for commercial purposes