Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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JONES , OWEN ( 1809? - 1874 ), architect and ornamental designer ;

b. 15 Feb. 1809 in Thames Street , London , the only son of Owen Jones ( Owain Myfyr , q.v.) . His career, which is described in the D.N.B. , can be summarized as follows: — educated at the Charterhouse and privately he became, at 16, the pupil of L. Vulliamy , architect , with whom he worked for six years, studying at the same time at the Royal Academy . In 1830 he left for France and Italy ; in 1833 he visited Greece , Turkey , and Egypt , and, in 1834 , Spain , where he made several drawings of the Alhambra , which he revisited in 1837 . The first of his numerous publications appeared in 1836 , this being the first part of his Plans, Elevations, Sections, and Details of the Alhambra .

In 1851 he became superintendent of the works of the ‘Great Exhibition,’ and in that capacity took an active part in decorating and arranging the building in which the exhibition was housed. In 1852 he was made joint director of the decoration of the Crystal Palace ; he was the designer of the Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and Alhambra Courts . In his later years he was employed in the decoration of private houses . He decorated the palace of the Khedive of Egypt and was the architect of S. James's Hall , London . His exhibits at the Royal Academy were of various architectural designs by him — e.g. the Town Hall , Birmingham , 1831 , S. George's Hall , Liverpool , 1845 . He was awarded the gold medal of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1857 , and became vice-president of that body in 1867 . He d. 19 April 1874 in Argyll Place , Regent Street , London , and was buried in Kensal Green cemetery .

His publications, which were numerous, are listed in D.N.B. The best-known today is, probably, The Grammar of Ornament ( London , 1856 ; another edition in 1865 ); this work, and some others by him, exercised some influence upon the designs of wall-papers, carpets, and furniture . Another work of importance in its day was published in collaboration with H. N. Humphreys , viz. The Illuminated Books of the Middle Ages ( 1844 ). He also issued many illuminated editions of the Psalms, the Book of Common Prayer, and of the works of some poets .

Sources:

  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and the sources listed therein;
  • [see also Y Cymmrodor , 1951 , 95.]

Author:

Sir William Llewelyn Davies, M.A., LL.D., F.S.A. (1887-1952), Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959