From the Reference Library: Pattern and Ornament in the Arts of India

Jack came back from a business trip toting Pattern and Ornament in the Arts if India by Henry Wilson, a Thames & Hudson  book he picked up in London, appropriately.  I love the cover, and this book is put together in a  bit of a different way.  First of all it has 223 color photographs and 89 drawing in its 250 pages.  Literally the only pages that do not have images are the indexes and acknowledgments.   But they have taken motifs off of palaces, tombs, buildings, columns, sculptures and more.  Then the original work is described and a 2 color drawing has been rendered  for clear viewing of the main motif used.  Often in the same building a motif is repeated many times in different mediums.   The book is divided into Repeat Patterns, Borders and Bands, Single Motifs and Panels, and Ornamental Scenes.

My fascination with historical design continues, even though all my design work now is from my original drawings and I never even use reference, I still collect it and comb through it and it still totally transports me.   One of my favorite lines in this book is in the introduction by Henry Wilson:  ” Minimalism is the enemy of pattern – especially in the context of the extraordinary wealth, diversity, and energy of of the decorative arts of the Indian subcontinent.”

The late 19th century Mandir Palace at Jaisalmer in Rajasthan

Dining area of the Samode Haveli, the Jaipur home of the rawals of Samode.

The ceiling ornament on the Diwan-i-Amm or Hall of Public Audience in the City Palace at Jaipur.

The tomb of the Mughal Emperor Akbar at Sikandra, 1613.

2 thoughts on “From the Reference Library: Pattern and Ornament in the Arts of India

  1. Hi Carol, Thanks for sharing this book with your viewers. I picked up the same reference book months ago and still find myself going to it over and over again. Very inspiring indeed. Hope all is well.


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