Christopher Dresser’s Art of Decorative Design


Studies of decorative design are numerous but this one stands out for the quality of its colour plates, all of which show a variety of designs derived from plants and flowers. The Art of Decorative Design (1862) is one of a number of design books published in the wake of the Great Exhibition of 1851, the most celebrated being Owen Jones’ lavish Grammar of Ornament. Christopher Dresser was a professor of ornamental art and botany who here continues where The Grammar of Ornament ends, exploring the floral design that’s a recurrent feature of Victorian decoration. What’s most remarkable for me about some of these designs is the way they prefigure the forms of Art Nouveau, a style that wouldn’t emerge for another thirty years.



Continue reading “Christopher Dresser’s Art of Decorative Design”