The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Owen Jones, 1809-1874

Nationality: British
Date of Birth: 1809
Place of Birth:
Date of Death: 1874
Place of Death:


Owen Jones was a designer and architect. He was the son of Owen Jones, a Welsh furrier and antiquary. He married the sister of James William Wild.


Jones trained at the Royal Academy Schools and under the architect Lewis Vulliamy. On a Grand Tour in 1832 he became fascinated with polychromatic architectural design. He was responsible for the polychromatic interior decoration of Christ Church, Streatham (1840-2), designed by James William Wild. He was appointed Superintendent of the Works of the Great Exhibition in 1851.

In 1852 Jones began to lecture at the newly formed Department of Science and Art, founded by Henry Cole. He advocated a use of geometric, stylised pattern as opposed to three-dimensional naturalistic detail. He designed fabrics for Warner, Sillet & Ramm; carpets for James Templeton & Co. and Brinton; wallpapers for John Trumble & Sons, Jeffrey & Co. and Townsend & Parker, and interiors for wealthy patrons, including George Eliot's drawing room at The Priory, Regent's Park. He also designed mosaics, tiles, book covers and playing cards. His publications include Plans, Elevations, Sections and Details of the Alhambra, 2 vols (1842-5), Grammar of Ornament (1856).

Jones was a member of the Burlington Fine Arts Club in 1867 when JW was expelled from the Club as a result of a quarrel with his brother-in-law Francis Seymour Haden. Jones did not vote in JW's favour.


Kelly's London Post Office Directory, London, 1861; Darby, Michael, 'Owen Jones', The Grove Dictionary of Art Online, ed. L. Macy, accessed 13 October 2003,; Owen Jones' Obituary, The Annual Register, 1874, p. 149; (accessed 13 October 2003).