Detail View: SHIMMER: Details and ornaments from the Alhambra

Details and ornaments from the Alhambra
Creation Date: 
48 x 65 cm
Image Date: 
19th century
Special Collection, Sheffield Hallam University
Display Creator: 
Moorish architecture ;
Image ID: 
Volume II. Detail: Plate XXXVII (37) - Lintel of a doorway, Court of the Mosque. Illustrations # 57 / 2/3 size / Published by Owen Jones , London 1844 "Early in the 14th century the Moorish king Yusuf I completed the interior decoration of his huge palace-fortress in Spain, the Alhambra. It was to be one of the great examples of Islamic design and ornament; even in decay, after the expulsion of the Moors from Spain, it was visited by thousands. In 1834, one of those visitors was a young architect, Owen Jones. He was fascinated by the geometric and flamboyantly-coloured Islamic art and made many drawings of the architectural details of the palace. On his return to England he was determined to publish the results of his studies, but encountered a major problem. At that time the only satisfactory way to produce a book with coloured illustrations was to tint each picture by hand. Not only was this expensive but the results were often far from consistent and the colours were frequently pale. To achieve the crisp edges and vibrant blues, reds and gold of the Alhambra designs was almost impossible. Nevertheless, undaunted, Jones poured all his money into the project. In collaboration with a firm of lithographers, Day & Haghe, he set up a company to develop a new colour-printing method called Chromolithography. Such was the innovative nature of this printing technique that Jones's designs from the Alhambra were the first books in Britain that could capture, through a mechanical process, the vivid colours of the originals. The Alhambra volumes did not appeal particularly to a large audience but they did demonstrate the possibilities of this new means of producing highly-coloured illustrations for a mass market. Over the next fifty years there was a spate of popular books printed in the bright, bold colours that the Chromolithographic process made possible. Among these were many by Jones himself, including his best-selling "Grammar of Ornament". ….. " From the introduction to an exhibition at the Ruskin Gallery, Sheffield. Written by John Kirby, Site Librarian, Psalter Lane, Sheffield City Polytechnic.
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Related Information: 
Details and ornaments from the Alhambra. For details in Library Catalogue see also < >
Photographed by: 
copy stand
Creator Dates - Born: 
Creator Dates - Died: 
Creator Role: 
Architect and designer.
Culture Gender: 
Subject Heading: 
Buildings -- Design and construction
Subject Heading: 
Islamic architecture -- Spain -- Granada
Subject Heading: 
Alhambra (Granada, Spain)
Subject Heading: 
Decoration and ornament -- Spain
Subject Heading: 
Decoration and ornament, Architectural