the study of ornaments, from scientific american article 1888

“In surface decoration all lines should flow out of a parent stem. Every part, however distant, should be traced to its branch or root. Natural law.”  Owen Jones, Grammar of Ornamentthe study of ornaments

“Decoration is the science and art of beautifying objects and rendering them more pleasing to the eye. As an art, individual taste and skill have much to do with the perfection of the results; as a science, it is subject to certain invariable laws and principles which cannot be violated, and a study of which, added to familiarity with some of the best examples, will enable any one to appreciate and understand it, even if lacking the skill and power to create original and beautiful designs.

The study of decoration offers many advantages. It cultivates the imagination and the taste; it develops our capacity for recognizing and enjoying the beautiful in both nature and art; it adds to the pleasure and refinement of life. Practically, its importance can hardly be overestimated, as it enters into almost all the industrial pursuits. We can think of but few classes of objects, even the most simple, in which some attempt at ornamentation is not made.

Ornament is one of the principal means of enhancing the value of the raw material. A piece of carved wood, or an artistically decorated porcelain vase, worth perhaps many hundred dollars, if reduced to the commercial value of the material of which they are composed would be valued at but a few dollars or cents. The higher the ornamentation ranks, from an artistic point of view, the greater becomes the value of the article to which it is applied. Knowledge of good designs is thus evidently important, to the purchaser of the object ornamented as well as to the designer who planned it. This can only be attained by cultivation.”


by Miss Marie R. Garesche, St. Louis High School
Scientific American Supplement