Owen Jones and the V&A: Ornament for a Modern Age
Olivia Horsfall Turner
Lund Humphries Publishers, 2023
Owen Jones (1809–1874), a prolific architect, designer, illustrator and printer, was recognised during his lifetime as one of the most influential contemporary figures in art and design theory. This insightful book, the latest in the V&A Nineteenth-Century Series, explores his relationship with the South Kensington Museum (later the Victoria and Albert Museum), from its inauguration in the 1850s through to his death in 1874. With particular focus on the creation of his celebrated volume The Grammar of Ornament (1856), his decorative scheme for the museum’s so-called ‘Oriental Court’ and the preparation of his lesser-known publication Examples of Chinese Ornament (1867), it offers a fascinating exploration of the identity of the early museum and its imperial context.