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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 30

Design and Historic Ornament

page 21

Design and Historic Ornament.

Design—constructive and ornamental.

Constructive Design.—Technical knowledge required. Elementary facts connected with mechanics. Nature of the materials used.

The relation of constructive and ornamental design as illustrated by Furniture, Earthenware, Glass, and Metal work.

Suitability of material. Fitness of form. Quality of workmanship. Hand-made and machine-made work.

Ornamental Design—its nature and character. Work of Savage tribes—New Zealand, Fiji, Sandwich, and Friendly Islands, as illustrating unconscious intelligence in design.

Principles of Ornamental Art.

Equal distribution. Symmetry. Repetition. Variety. Contrast. Composition of line. Radiation. Tangential composition. The Anthemion.

Elements of Ornament.

1.Geometrical forms.—Straight lines. Frets, interlaced patterns, square and lozenge diapers. The circle, spiral and volute.
2.Vegetable forms—Foliage. The Acanthus as illustrating the principles of Ornamental Art. Flowers—the rosette.
3.Objects.—Shields, Medallions, Masks, Vases, Labels, and Ribbons.
4.Animal forms.—Shells, Horns, Dolphins, Birds, Griffins, Lions. Parts of these combined with foliage and other ornamental forms.
5.The Human Figure—combined with other ornament—symmetrically disposed. Compositions of the Figure without or with background.

The proper distribution of Ornament. Power of ornament to express feelings and ideas.

Historic Ornament.

Ornament of Savage tribes—Tatooing, Stamping, and Weaving. Carving. Geometrical patterns, interlacing. Curved forms. The Human Figure. Clubs and paddles.

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Egyptian ornament—its symbolism. The Lotus and Papyrus. The Palm branch. Plaited patterns, mats. The fret. Carving and painting. Colours used by the Egyptians.

Assyrian and Persian ornament—its origin. Bas-relief. Painted ornaments, bricks, and pavements. Colours used. Sacred trees, the pine-apple. Sculptured ornaments, pilasters.

Greek ornament—purely aesthetic. Forms derived from Egypt and Assyria. Conventional rendering. Representative forms. The zig-zag, wave scroll, and fret. The Echinus and Anthemion. Greek pottery.

Roman Ornament—an elaboration of the Greek. The scroll and acanthus. Animals and the Human form in Roman ornament.

Byzantine Ornament—its character. Symbolic forms—the lily, cross, and serpent. The Trefoil and Quatrefoil. Painting and sculpture. Mosaics. Development of antique types. Delicacy of treatment.

Arabian Ornament. Governing principle of Mahometan decoration, and circumstances favouring its development. Absence of symbolism and the exclusion of natural forms. Geometrical symmetry. Moresque ornament, its equal distribution, radiation, and continuity of line. Technical methods of decoration. Colouring of the Moors as illustrating fixed principles.

Romanesque Ornament. Imitation of Antique art. Human and Animal forms. Tracery. Painting on glass. Enamelling.

Gothic Ornament—its conventional character. Symbolism. The use of foliage, animals, and the human figure. Early English, its harmony with structural features. Tracery. Ornament of the Decorated period compared with Early English. Undue elaboration. Its defects and decline.

Renaissance Ornament—its origin and development. Scroll work and interlacings. Revival of classic forms. Arabesques and scroll. Painted and carved panels. Natural and conventional decoration of the Sixteenth century. Sculpture and painting. The Rococo style. False principles of decoration. Ornament of the present century.