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Watercolour - Decorative Design: Ornamental Pattern

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Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery

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Basic Information

Accession Number:1927P358
Collection:Fine Art Prints and Drawings
Date:1850 - 1850

Maker Information

Artist:Ford Madox Brown - View biography for Ford Madox Brown


Brown's reasons for making this colourful design of ornamental patterns remains unclear. He enjoyed designing furniture, wall paper and stained glass for Morris, Marshall Faulkner and Co. which he cou-founded in 1863, but this design pre-dates his involvement with the company. The architectural historian Kathryn Ferry suggests that 'Elavations, Sections and Details of the Alhambra' by Owen Jones (1845) may have been the source of these designs as it contains 'pages of pattern including the borders of mosaic dados as illustrated later in the Grammar of the Ornament' ('Ford Madox Brown:The Unofficial Pre-Raphaelite,' ex. cat., p. 66). She also suggests that the central orange portion may have been inspired by medieval manuscripts. However, it appears that Brown may well have been using 'Grammar of the Ornament' as a spring board for his own designs as there are a number of illustrations that are similar, but not identical, to each of the patterns Brown has created on this sheet unlike 'Elavations, Sections and Details of the Alhambra' which only includes the Moorish designs. As 'Grammar of the Ornament' was published in 1856 it may be another case of Brown incorrectly back dating his work.

Bequeathed by James Richardson Holliday, 1927.

Further Information

Production Period:19th century
Medium:Watercolour and bodycolour over pen, ink and pencil, on paper.


Height:250 mm
Width: 197 mm