Illuminated Books
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Owen Jones
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Owen Jones

The Books

Grammar of Ornament New
Paradise and the Peri
Gray's Elegy
Joseph and His Breteren
Ancient Spanish Ballads
Oratius
Holy Matrimony

Biographic Notes

Jones, Owen (1809-1868)
Born in 1809 to a Welsh antiquarian and furrier, he studied architecture at Charterhouse School, London and was the apprentice of the architect Lewis Vuillamy. In 1832 he set for the Continent on a Grand Tour. His travels included Greece, Spain, Egypt, and Turkey. In Greece Jones met Jules Goury (1803-34), a young French architect; both travelers become fascinated by classical architecture polychromy. In Spain they undertook a detailed survey of the Alhambra. After Goury died of cholera in 1834, Jones completed their research and published it himself as Plans, Elevations, Sections and Details of the Alhambra in 1842. in 1841 he published an illuminated edition of J. G. Lockhart's Ancient Spanish Ballads. At the same time he was involved in architectural and interior design projects; the most successful was Christ Church (1840-42), Streatham, London, designed by James William Wild. Well known in the 1840s for the design of mosaic and tessellated pavements in geometric patterns; Owen Jones submitted in 1844 a design for the floors of the new Palace of Westminster, which, although praised, was not accepted. In 1851 Owen Jones was involved as Superintendent of the Works with the plans for the Great Exhibition, his tasks involved the decoration of the Crystal Palace designed by Joseph Paxton.
After the Great Exhibition, Jones was involved in re-erecting the Crystal Palace at Sydenham, London, where, with his friend Sir Matthew Digby Wyatt, he undertook the design and furnishing of the Fine Arts Courts. As a result of coloring the Greek Court according to what he believed were the ancient methods, he was obliged to publish an Apology in 1854, in which he was assisted by his friend the philosopher George Henry Lewes. In 1852 he began to lecture at the newly formed Department of Science and Art, which was founded by his friend Henry Cole. With Cole's help Jones evolved his principles into 37 axioms of design, which appeared in his influential publication the Grammar of Ornament in 1856. Working in collaboration with the London firm of Jackson Graham, Owen Jones decorated many domestic interiors. For Alfred Morrison he decorated the interiors of his country house at Fonthill, Wilts, and his town house at 16 Carlton House Terrace, London, which contained some fine examples of Moorish and other styles. Owen Jones's most important decorative schemes for public buildings were those for the Langham Hotel and for the Fishmongers' Hall, both in London. Jones worked closely with several firms: he designed wallpapers for Trumble Sons and for Jeffrey Co.; carpets for James Templeton Co. and for Brinton; silks for Benjamin Warner; and numerous paper items for the firm of De la Rue, and many others. His association with De la Rue over thirty years covered virtually all the items produced by the firm, from playing cards to stamps. The packaging they produced from Owen Jones's designs for Huntley Palmer, the biscuit manufacturers, is an early example of the modern approach to graphic design and marketing. (Text courtesy of Illuminated Manuscripts at alfredom.com)

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