Jones, Owen, 1809-1874. / The grammar of ornament
Indian ornament, from the exhibitions of 1851 and 1855, pp. 77-79 ff.
INDIAN ORNAMENT. and perfection of drawing perfectly marvellous. The ornament No. 1, on Plate L., from an embroidered saddle-cloth, excited universal admiration in 1851. The exact balance obtained by the gold embroidery on the green and red grounds was so perfect, that it was beyond the power of a European band to copy it h the same complete balance of form and colour. The way in which the colours are fused in all their woven fabrics, so as to obtain what they always appear to seek, viz. that coloured objects when viewed at a distance should present a neutralised bloom, is very remarkable. A due regard to economy in the production of our Plates has necessarily limited the number of printings, and we have not always, therefore, been able to obtain the proper balance of colour. The Indian collection at South Kensington Museum should be visited and studied by all in any way connected with the production of woven fabrics. In this collection will be found the most brilliant colours perfectly harmonised- it is impossible to find there a discord. All the examples show the nicest adjustment of the massing of the ornament to the colour of the ground; every colour or tint, from the palest and most delicate to the deepest and richest shades, receiving just the amount of ornament that it is adapted to bear. The following general rules, which are applicable to all woven fabrics, may be observed:- 1. When gold ornaments are used on a coloured ground, where gold is used in large masses, there the ground is darkest. Where the gold is used more thinly, there the ground is lighter and more delicate. 2. When a gold ornament alone is used on a coloured ground, the colour of the ground is carried into it by ornaments or hatchings worked in the ground-colours on the gold itself. 3. When ornaments in one colour are on a ground of contrasting colour, the ornament is separated from the ground by an edging of a lighter colour, to prevent all harshness of contrast. 4. When, on the contrary, ornaments in a colour are on a gold ground, the ornaments are separated from the gold ground by an edging of a darker colour, to prevent the gold overpowering the ornament.- See No. 10, Plate L. 5. In other cases, where varieties of colour are used on a coloured ground, a general outline of gold, of silver, or of white or yellow silk, separates the ornament from the ground, giving a general tone throughout. In carpets and low-toned combinations of colour, a black general outline is used for this purpose. The object always appears to be, in the woven fabrics especially, that each ornament should be softly, not harshly, defined; that coloured objects viewed at a distance should present a neutralised bloom; that each step nearer should exhibit fresh beauties; and a close inspection, the means whereby these effects are produced. In this they do but carry out the same principles of surface decoration which we find in the architecture of the Arabs and Moors. The spandril of a Moorish arch, and an Indian shawl, are constructed precisely on the same principles. The ornament on Plate LIII., from a book-cover at the India House, is a very brilliant example of painted decoration. The general proportions of the leading lines of the pattern, the skilful distribu- tion of the flowers over the surface, and, notwithstanding the intricacy, the perfect continuity of the lines of the stalks, place it far before any European effort of this class. On the inside of the same cover, Plate LIV., the ornaments are less conventional in their treatment; but how charmingly is observed the limit of the treatment of flowers on a flat surface! This book-cover offers in itself a specimen of two marked styles: the outside, Plate LIII., being after the Arabian manner, and the inside after the Persian. 79
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