Owen Jones - The Visionary of Victorian Design

Owen Jones was one of the most influential Victorian design theorists of the nineteenth century. Derivative of new research into colour (polychromy) in Ancient Greek and Roman architecture, Jones asserted the fundamental role of colour and the underlying global interconnectedness of aesthetics via design throughout all cultures. Jones found support for this view while producing copious drawings of the richly tessellated tiling of the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain. This resulted in his appointment as interior designer of the Crystal Palace for the Great Exhibition of 1851, an event that was seen by one third of the British population. Discover an individual who was instrumental in globalizing aesthetics and its expression in decorative design.


  • Face-to-Face


  • Hunt, Tristram, (2005) Building Jerusalem: The Rise and Fall of the Victorian City, Phoenix, ISBN ‎ 9780753819838
  • Hrvol Flores, Carol, (2006) Owen Jones: Design, Ornament, Architecture & Theory in an Age of Transition, Rizzoli, ISBN 9780847828043
  • Jacobs, Michael, (2000) Alhambra, Frances Lincoln Ltd, ISBN 0711225184
  • Jones, Owen, (2008, originally published between 1842-45) Ornament and Design of the Alhambra, Dover, ISBN ‎ 9780486465241
  • Jones, Owen, (2005, originally published in 1854) The Alhambra Court in the Crystal Palace, Adamant Media Corporation, ISBN 9781402170706
  • Jones, Owen, (2016, originally published 1856) The Grammar of Ornament: A Visual Reference of Form and Colour in Architecture and the Decorative Arts, Princeton University Press, ISBN 9780691172064
  • Leapman, Michael, (2002) The World for a Shilling: How the Great Exhibition of 1851 Shaped a Nation, Headline Book Publishing, ISBN ‎ 9780747266488


  • Owen Jones and the Grand Tour: As a young architect travelling on the Grand Tour, Jones met the French architect, Jules Goury. Goury was deeply influenced by recent innovative studies into the use of colour in Ancient Greek and Roman architecture and pottery (polychromy). We will see how this led to a shared interest, with both men further studying the use of geometric pattern and colour in the Islamic art of Egypt, Constantinople and finally Alhambra, in Granada, Spain.
  • Owen Jones and the Alhambra Palace: During a six month stay at the Alhambra, Jones and Goury made a systematic study of the palace. We will examine how Jones’ theories of flat pattern, geometry and polychromy would all be defined by this studious encounter.
  • Owen Jones, the Great Exhibition of 1851 and the Crystal Palace: Jones spent a subsequent decade of continuing research, which was finally published as Plans, Elevations, Sections and Details of the Alhambra (1842-45), thus establishing his reputation as a leading Victorian visionary of decorative design. We will examine the influence of this work and how via Prince Albert, he was commissioned to design the interior of the Crystal Palace for the Great Exhibition of 1851.
  • Owen Jones - Design, Culture and The Grammar of Ornament: In 1856, Jones published his seminal design sourcebook: The Grammar of Ornament. We will explore Jones’ aesthetic intention through the 112 chromolithograph plates depicting 19 globally diverse cultural periods of design. We will see how Jones’ aim was not to create an eclectic pattern book to copy from but rather to open to the reader the possibility of deciphering the underlying principles common to all design. Furthermore, armed with this knowledge, the artistic professional could go on to creatively invent original designs for the current cultural environment and context.


By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Perceive of Owen Jones’ output within the context of a growing contemporary interest in the craftsman and a critique of industrialization and mass production, along with their cultural and social effects upon society.
  2. Relate Owen Jones’ works to Victorian attitudes to the civic role of the arts and its earlier historical and cultural precedence.
  3. Analyse how Owen Jones’ monographs and built designs embodied an innovative and culturally overarching approach to design and aesthetics.
  4. Gain an ability to visually analyse works of art.
$39 Limited

<p>Owen Jones was one of the most influential Victorian design theorists of the nineteenth century. Derivative of new research into colour (polychromy) in Ancient Greek and Roman architecture, Jones

10 Jun
This event has changed delivery mode to Online by request of the lecturer.

Interested in this course but can't attend? Please join the waiting list by clicking .