Perhaps one of the luxurious & most marvelously illustrated volumes in my library is The Grammar of Ornament by Owen Jones, "The Classic Encyclopedia of Design and Decorative Art" first published in 1856.

From Plate Indian no 1 "Works in Metal"

Key 6

Indian1 circle2x


Key 19

Indian2 circle

Indian2 pattern brush


Key 8

India3 hexagon

Patterns always fascinate me, as there appears to be almost infinite possibilities. And the history of humankind seems to bear this out, as is clear in a book I obtained 2nd hand edtitled "The World of Ornament" published by Taschen in their Bibliotheca Universalis range. This publication is a bringing together of two seminal works on pattern and ornament: Auguste Racinet’s L’Ornement polychrome Volumes I and II (1875–1888) and Auguste Dupont-Auberville’s L’Ornement des tissus (1877).

From the publisher:

Encompassing classical, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Etruscan, Asian and middle-Eastern, as well as European designs from medieval times through the 19th century, this compilation of cultures and esthetics offers a primary reference for artists, historians, designers and patternmakers, and anyone engaged in decorative design and impact.

Naturally I seek to study these two greatest encyclopedic collections, and this afternoon I started with recreating in Adobe Illustrator a beautiful early Greek motif from the frieze of the Parthenon

Greek Pattern1

Once I'd recreated the motif digitally, I thought it might be interesting to use the sheer power of Illustrator to utilise it as both a Pattern Brush tracing the circumference of a circle, and then defining a Pattern Swatch to tile it seamlessly within a polygon I created and a simpler oval. This was a valuable opportunity to brush up (no pun intended) on working to create seemless patterns for swatch and brush applications.

Greek 1 pattern oval