Friday, June 24, 2011

Outlines of Ornament

First of all, a big thank you to Michael H, who came up with the goods on the Oakham School Memorial in my recent post. One of the wonders of this place is the way that no matter what I post here, there's someone who's able to help me out. Thank you Michael...

Today has been an auction day, zooming through a couple of counties to get to two auctions in the course of the morning and afternoon and, I have to say, I'm pretty chuffed with the results. No doubt some of those results will be featuring here. Regular readers of this blog though will be very unsurprised to hear about my glee when I pulled this large folio-sized book from a box when I got home: pages and pages and pages of printers ornament and designers' patterns... yummy...

It seems that by 'leading styles' in the title they mean Japanese, French Modern, Egyptian, Medieval and so on. These kind of pattern books - and their typographical variants - were popular in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century and enjoyed a resurgence during the 60s and 70s when companies like Dover Publishing reprinted them all. But that was the age of the photocopier and cut-and-paste clip art that didn't just arrive down a broadband cable. These days the Victorian and early 20th Century books have a collectors value but just because they are such nice physical objects, not because they are of great use any more.

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