London: Bernard Quaritch, 1868. Ring_bound. Folio. [(1) 28pp., (1) 101 leaves (plates). Stitched blue leather ring binder portfolio with handwritten label on cover. Title page printed in red an black with publisher's device plus chromolithographic title page. All text pages and plates are expertly separated and placed into plastic portfolio sleeves, chromolithographs ready to be framed. Missing 11 plates.
"The Grammar of Ornament" is by any standards a remarkable book. When it was first published in 1856, it was the first time that so many illustrations of ornament, of many periods and from many countries, had ever been shown in color in one work. It was the concept of Owen Jones (1808–74), a young Welsh architect, who at the age of twenty-three went on his grand tour to visit Turkey, Egypt, Sicily, and Spain. In Granada he became fascinated by the Alhambra Palace, in which at that time visitors could actually choose their own suites of room and take up residence. Jones made detailed drawings of the Palace, and in August 1834, he returned to England carrying not only his drawings, but also an enormous number of casts: "To ensure perfect accuracy, an impression of every ornament throughout the palace was taken, either in plaster or with unsized paper, the low relief of the ornaments of the Alhambra rendering them peculiarly susceptible of this process." Jones’ aim was not to produce general artistic views, but to provide scientific accuracy in making an exact and detailed record of ornaments and colored decorations consisting largely of flat bright colors in geometric patterns. He could not find any printer in London able to meet his requirements; with the help of lithographic printers Day and Haghe he set up his own lithographic press and trained his own workmen at his own expense, having to sell part of the Welsh estate left him by his father to pay the costs of printing. Jones’ first book, Plans, Details, and Sections of the Alhambra, was the first of many projects leading toward his magnum opus, "The Grammar of Ornament." (Commentary by Ruari McLean.) Some plates with light wear along edges, not affecting images. Plates in overall very good to fine condition. vg to fine. Item #43948