The Victoria & Albert Museum
presents today A Higher Ambition: Owen Jones (1809–74), on view through November 22, 2009. This display will trace Owen Jones's unique contributions to Victorian design reform; from his early studies of Islamic decoration at the Alhambra Palace, through to his designs for the 1851 Great Exhibition building, the publication of the Grammar of Ornament (one of the most important design sourcebooks of all time) and his influence in the founding of the South Kensington Museum.
A key feature of the display will be the volumes for Plans, Elevations, Sections and Details of the Alhambra (1845) which resulted from Jones's six-month stay in Granada, during which he meticulously recorded the architecture and decoration of this grand Islamic palace. From this detailed analysis, Jones derived a predilection for abstract ornamentation and flat pattern which constituted an essential feature of his artistic vision.
The V&A holds the world's most comprehensive collection of Owen Jones material, and on the occasion of the bicentenary of his birth, this will be the first ever monographic display or exhibition to look at the contribution of Owen Jones to architecture, design and colour theory.