Jones, Owen, 1809-1874. / The grammar of ornament : illustrated by examples from various styles of ornament
Egyptian ornament, pp. 19-25 ff.
EGYPTIAN ORNAMENT. shadow, yet found no difficulty in poetically conveying to the mind the identity of the object they desired to represent. They used colour as they did form, conventionally. Compare the representation of the lotus (No. 3, Plate IV.) with the natural flower (No. 1); how charmingly are the characteristics of the natural flower reproduced in the representations ! See how the outer leaves are distinguished by a darker green, and the inner protected leaves by a lighter green; whilst the purple and yellow tones of the inner flower are represented by red leaves floating in a field of yellow, which most completely recalls the yellow glow of the original. We have here Art added to Nature, and derive an additional pleasure in the perception of the mental effort which has produced it. The colours used by the Egyptians were principally red, blue, and yellow, with black and white to define and give distinctiveness to the various colours; with green used generally, though not universally, as a local colour, such as the green leaves of the lotus. These were, however, indifferently coloured green or blue; blue in the more ancient times, and green during the Ptolemaic period; at which time, also, were added both purple and brown, but with diminished effect. The red also, which is found on the tombs or mummy-cases of the Greek or Roman period, is lower in tone than that of the ancient times; and it appears to be a universal rule that, in all archaic periods of art, the primary colours, blue, red, and yellow, are the prevailing colours, and these used most harmoniously and successfully. Whilst in periods when art is practised traditionally, and not instinctively, there is a tendency to employ the secondary colours and hues, and shades of every variety, though rarely with equal success. We shall have many opportunities of pointing this out in subsequent chapters. 25 H