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Design - Persian No.3

Persian No.3

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1856 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Jones, Owen, born 1809 - died 1874 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Body colour

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level E, case Q, shelf 25

Owen Jones (1809-1874) published the Grammar of Ornamentin 1856. It was the most important and influential book of designs produced in Britain in the 19th century. Jones gathered together examples from both ancient and modern civilisations. He then re-drew them in accordance with his principles of flat pattern. He used an expensive colour lithographic process that he himself had helped to improve.

Owen intended his book to be a kind of universal grammar of the process of flat pattern design. It was not the first compendium of historical and foreign ornament styles. But it was radical (and very Victorian) in its attempt to systematise all the main branches of ornament, ancient and modern, as if pattern were analogous to language.

Physical description

Body colour design on paper

Place of Origin

London (made)


1856 (made)


Jones, Owen, born 1809 - died 1874 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Body colour

Marks and inscriptions

Thirteen of these cut-out designs are labelled, citing the reference material used by Jones: 'Persian XVI Cent', 'Persian XVII Cent' and 'Sanskrit'. He was referring to unspecified manuscripts in the British Museum (today transferred to the British Library). In the Grammar's chapter XI, 'Persian Ornament', Jones described these designs as 'very common ornaments for the heads of chapters in Persian MSS.: indeed there is but little variety to be found in these, numerous as they are'.


Height: 54.2 cm, Width: 36.7 cm

Descriptive line

Owen Jones, page mounted with 24 cut-out painted designs, showing details of illumination copied from different Persian manuscripts, and arranged as preparatory layout for 'Persian No.3', plate XLIV in The Grammar of Ornament, 1856

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Design Cities. Eight moments that changed the world Istanbul: Mas Matbaacilik S, 2008. ISBN: 978-975-6167-26-7.




Drawing; Painting

Subjects depicted

Persian pattern




Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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