Album de la décoration

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Plates from a selection of art nouveau-styled prints for the use of artists and craftsmen. There’s more in this incomplete Flickr set; a little searching turns up further examples but the Flickr ones are the highest quality. The Four Seasons were featured here several years ago in a post about illustrator Patten Wilson. The bat-obsessed Robert de Montesquiou would no doubt have approved of the unusual conjunction of a chauve-souris with the favourite fowl of the fin de siècle.

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Previously on { feuilleton }
The Grammar of Ornament revisited
Dekorative Vorbilder
Combinaisons Ornementales
Charles J Strong’s Book of Designs
Styles of Ornament
The Grammar of Ornament by Owen Jones

The Grammar of Ornament revisited

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I’ve owned a facsimile of Owen Jones’ study of ornamental design for many years. Jones was an architect who helped in the planning of London’s Great Exhibition in 1851, and in the subsequent development of the Victoria & Albert Museum. The Grammar of Ornament (1856) originated from this work, a lavish guide to the history of ornament through the ages, and from all parts of the world. My facsimile is a large, heavy and unwieldy volume: nice to look at but difficult to use. One of the earliest posts here linked to an online copy but a recent addition to the archives at the University of Heidelberg is better quality, and also much more accessible.

What I’m hoping for now is that someone will do the same for Auguste Racinet’s Polychrome Ornament (1877), a book inspired by The Grammar of Ornament‘s example which is even more lavish. This Flickr set has copies of the plates but when anything at Flickr can be deleted on a whim it’s always better to have an alternative available.

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Continue reading “The Grammar of Ornament revisited”

Dekorative Vorbilder

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Richard Kühnel.

Some of the Art Nouveau plates from Dekorative Vorbilder, a series devoted to the decorative arts published in Germany from 1895 on. The interior design suggestion above has me wondering whether there’s ever been another period of design when it’s seemed quite natural (so to speak) to offer a giant insect and monstrous flowers as wall motifs. Something to bear in mind if anyone tries to argue that Art Nouveau wasn’t a radical form.

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Georges de Feure.

These plates are all from a collection at the NYPL Digital Gallery where the samples available cover a range of styles from the ancient world to the 19th century. The collection there doesn’t seem complete, unfortunately, and much as I’d like to point to a complete set elsewhere that doesn’t seem possible for the time being. If anyone knows otherwise, please leave a comment.

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Otto Prutscher.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Combinaisons Ornementales
Charles J Strong’s Book of Designs
Styles of Ornament
The Grammar of Ornament by Owen Jones

Weekend links 53

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Ancient Egyptian capitals from The Grammar of Ornament (1856) by Owen Jones at Egyptian Revival.

• Golden Age Comic Book Stories has been pulling out all the stops recently with entries for Will Bradley, Alphonse Mucha’s Documents Decoratifs (a companion volume to Combinaisons Ornementales), and pages from My Name is Paris (1987) illustrated by Michael Kaluta, an Art Nouveau-styled confection which features scenes from the Exposition Universelle of 1900. Related: Alphonse Mucha in high-resolution at Flickr.

The Sinking Of The Titanic by Gavin Bryars at Ubuweb, the first release on Brian Eno’s Obscure label in 1975. Bryars’ Titanic is an open composition which has subsequently been reworked and re-recorded as more information about the disaster has come to light. The accompanying piece on that album, Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet, is the only version you need unless you want Tom Waits ruining the whole thing in the later recording.

• Hayley Campbell claims to have the worst CV in the world but she has a better way with words than most people with bad CVs. She’ll be giving a talk with Tim Pilcher entitled Sex, Death, Hell & Superheroes at The Last Tuesday Society, 11 Mare Street, Bethnal Green, London, on April 8th. Just don’t shout “Xena!” if you attend.

Monolake live at the Dis-Patch Festival Belgrade, Serbia, 2007; 75 minutes of thumping grooves. Related: A video by Richard De Suza using Monolake’s Watching Clouds as the soundtrack.

• “I preached against homosexuality, but I was wrong.” Related: Gay Cliques, a chart, and Sashay shantay épée at Strange Flowers, the last (?) duel with swords fought in France.

• Mixtapes of the week: Electronica from John Foxx and Benge at The Quietus, and Ben Frost mashing up early Metallica, Krzysztof Penderecki, and late Talk Talk for FACT.

• A 40 gigpixel panorama of the Strahov Philosophical Library, Prague, described by 360 Cities as the world’s largest indoor photo.

How Hollywood Butchered Its Best Movie Posters; Steven Heller on Saul Bass.

• Back issues of Coilhouse magazine are now available to buy in PDF form.

Absinthe minded: The ruin of bohemians is back in all the best bars.

Fade Into You (1993) by Mazzy Star.

Styles of Ornament

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Pages from Styles of Ornament (1904), a collection of ornamental designs by Alexander Speltz. This is one of a great collection of books from the Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture at the University of Wisconsin. I only found their collection today so I’ve yet to take a detailed look at the rest of the volumes.

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And speaking of ornament, Callum at Front Free Endpaper posted this elegant Art Nouveau-styled cover from a Pearson’s Magazine collection, just the kind of thing I enviously covet.

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Previously on { feuilleton }
The Grammar of Ornament by Owen Jones