This reprint of an 1856 work puts back into availability what has long been regarded as the definitive sourcebook on ornamental motifs.
One’s thoughts turn immediately to the sort of things that were produced by A W Pugin and this is not far off the mark, for the book influenced designers as far separated as William Morris and Frank Lloyd Wright.
Written at a time when pattern books of all kinds were popular, the original purpose was to bring together styles of ornament from Ancient Egypt and Greece to the Renaissance and Elizabethan. The Gothic revival caused designers and craftsmen to look perhaps more backwards than forwards and there was a hunger for any information that would guide their eyes and hands. Although interest is now perhaps largely historical, it nevertheless remains a wonderful sourcebook of inspiration for the contemporary worker, even if they will probably not feel that they need the same level of instruction.
If there is to be a reservation, it is that that small page size and paperback format make for a thick spine which is difficult to open without damaging the book. This is a pity, because it is the sort of thing that needs to be left open on the work table and this is not really possible.
Herbert Press 2008