The Victorian look that can be seen today in William Morris designs, products of the Arts & Crafts movement and the Victoria and Albert Museum can be traced (at least in part) to Owen Jones’ seminal work The Grammar of Ornament.
Published in 1856 by Day and Son, the design source book was inspired by Jones’ travels, his work on the successful architectural and ornamental museum in the Crystal Palace in Sydenham (formerly the home of the 1851 Great Exhibition in Hyde Park) and his ideas on key principles for the decorative arts.
The first edition on offer at Robert Frew features the typical chromolithographic frontispiece and 100 chromolithographic plates. It is an early issue before corrected errata, with one of the plates misnumbered.
The order of the binding is somewhat unconventional, too, with the plates for each section (Egyptian, Persian, Chinese and so on) bound in reverse order followed by the text descriptions.
It is available for £5000.