OWEN JONES (1809-1874), British architect and art decorator, son of Owen Jones, a Welsh antiquary, was born in London. After an apprenticeship of six years in an architect's office, he travelled for four years in Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt and Spain, making a special study of the Alhambra. On his return to England in 1836 he busied himself in his professional work. His forte was interior decoration, for which his formula was: "Form without colour is like a body without a soul." He was one of the superintendents of works for the Exhibition of 1851 and was responsible for the general decoration of the Crystal Palace at Sydenham. Along with Digby Wyatt, Jones collected the casts of works of art with which the palace was filled. He died in London on the 19th of April 1874.
Owen Jones was described in the Builder for 1874 as "the most potent apostle of colour that architectural England has had in these days." His range of activity is to be traced in his works: Plans, Elevations and Details of the Alhambra (1835-1845), in which he was assisted by MM. Goury and Gayangos; Designs for Mosaic and Tesselated Pavements (1842); Polychromatic Ornament of Italy (1845) An Attempt to Define the Principles which regulate the Employment of Colour in Decorative Arts (1852); Handbook to the Alhambra Court (1854); Grammar of Ornament (1856), a very important work; One Thousand and One Initial Letters (1864); Seven Hundred and Two Monograms (1864); and Examples of Chinese Ornament (1867).
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