The V&A Sourcebook of Pattern and Ornament (Victoria and Albert Museum) – Amelia Calver


A richly illustrated sourcebook of two-dimensional pattern and three dimensional ornamentation, presenting more than 1,000 historic and contemporary examples from around the world.

This richly illustrated, easy-to-navigate sourcebook presents more than 1,000 historic and contemporary examples of pattern and ornamentation from around the world, each one succinctly identified and explained. Arranged thematically, it is unique among pattern books, as it includes examples not only of surface pattern but also of three-dimensional ornamentation and embellishment.

Two-dimensional pattern is ubiquitous, no matter what the age of an object or where it was created. From Japanese kimono and William Morris fabrics to Chinese porcelain and contemporary furniture, such works reveal humanity’s unceasing desire to combine pattern with design. Just as prevalent are examples of three-dimensional embellishments that go far beyond the requirements of their practical use: an acrylic handbag has a carved motif of insects and wildflowers, a cobalt-blue pottery ewer has a dragon’s-head spout and an early 19th-century fruit plate is shaped like a seashell.

Designers working today are as fascinated and inspired by pattern and ornament as they have always been. This expertly compiled selection will appeal to designers, artists, illustrators and other creatives from all disciplines as well as anyone interested in visual and material culture.

We have a particular fondness for the books produced by the V&A and Thames & Hudson, but The V&A Sourcebook of Pattern & Ornament is one of our absolute favourites!

Patterns surround us everyday and once you focus on this you can appreciate the challenge behind this book to catalogue and organise patterns into a comprehensive collection.

There are over 1000 examples of patterns arranged under the following key headings of:

Earth & The Universe
Abstract Patterns

and then sub-divided into smaller more numerous and diverse categories. The images are stunning and illustrate the very many ways that different subjects can be portrayed both in patterns and also in ornaments. 

There is also a comprehensive introduction, and a fascinating interview with the founders of Timorous Beasties about Patterning in Practice. 

If you love fashion, or interior design you will recognise examples from different designers and different periods within the collection.

This richly illustrated book is one you will return to over and over again as an outstanding source of inspiration and compilation of the most fascinating information about the history of pattern making.

We absolutely loved it! Highly Recommended!