The lavish 1841 publication of 'Ancient Spanish Ballads; Historical and Romantic' (translated by JG Lockhart) is considered to be the first of the illuminated 'gift books', popular (it seems) in Victorian England.
Owen Jones was responsible for the design of the book and he contributed all of the border ornamentation and decorative vignettes together with some of the earliest chromolithographs ever printed (4th image from bottom). The engravings were produced by a team of 6 artists.
Each of the ~250 pages contains some form of elaborate colour border, embellished motifs and/or beautiful arrangement of text within the artistic illustration work. There is very little repetition of either layout or design elements. Only 2000 of these extravagant books were ever made (in this format).
Owen Jones was a Welsh architect and spent a considerable amount of time touring the continent as a young adult. He is best remembered for the 1856 classic, 'The Grammar of Ornament'.
Monday, December 04, 2006
Posted by peacay at 11:43 a.m.