Grammar of Ornament 2nd Edition


Grammar of Ornament 2nd Edition  [ edit ]

One of the most influential design manuals of the Victorian period, Owen Jones’ masterpiece, The Grammar of Ornament brought vibrant and accurate Egyptian motifs to a wide audience. Jones combined his training as an architect and an interest in antiquity with new techniques in chromolithography to create for the first time easily available colored re-creations of Egyptian designs, from flora and column capitals to patterns employed in a range of ancient monuments and objects. Jones’ philosophy of design in The Grammar of Ornament reflects his view of the “grammar” of ancient Egyptian art, as he summarizes: “every flower or other object is portrayed not as a reality, but as an ideal representation. It is at the same time the record of a fact and an architectural decoration, to which even their hieroglyphic writing, explanatory of the scene, by its symmetrical arrangement added effect” (Jones, The Grammar of Ornament, p. 23).



Artist or Author

Owen Jones




Yale British Art Center Rare Books and Manuscripts

Accession Number

NK1510 J7 1865+

P. Conner, The Inspiration of Egypt: its influence on British artists, travelers, and designers, 1700-1900 (Brighton, 1982), pp. 98-99. 

C. A. Hrvol Flores, Owen Jones, Design, Ornament, Architecture, and Theory in an Age of Transition (New York, 2006).

J. K. Jespersen, “Originality and Jones’ The Grammar of Ornament of 1856,” Journal of Design History 21, no. 2 (2008): 143-153.