A D F Hamlin
Release Date: 01 March 2007
Format: Paperback / softback
Category: Art Forms
PREFACE Six years have passed since the appearance of my first volume, A History of Ornament, Ancient and Medieval, when I announced my intention of following it with a History of Renaissance, Modern and Oriental Ornament, which I hoped to complete in two years. Not only have the two years been extended to six on account of the vast amount of material to be studied, digested, selected and put in shape, but it has been clear since early in those operations that the rich and extensive subject of the Oriental styles could not possibly be in cluded in the projected volume without swelling it to quite unwieldy proportions, and putting its cost quite beyond the reach of the average student. Him and her I have hud in mind from the outset and by stu dent I mean any and every one who seeks to gain real knowledge and not merely to be amused by pictures, The subject-matter of this book differs in a funda mental way from that of my preceding volume. It deals not with the works of dead and buried civilizations, but with those of a civilization of which our own is the direct heir, or even, as some would have it, a part and with the works of our own times, that is, of the nine teenth and twentieth centuries. It covers a period of almost exactly 500 years, whereas the chronology of the previous volume extends from 3500 B. C. to 1500 A. D., or exactly ten times the length of the period we are now vii PREFACE to study. But because these five centuries are so near to us, and because since the Middle Ages both the area and the populations included in our survey have so vastly increased, the production of Ornament, that is, of every kind of decorative work other than pure paint ing and sculpture hascorrespondingly increased. Moreover, a much greater proportion of this product is still in existence than of the works of antiquity or of the Middle Ages, while the ornament of the last century and of our own surrounds us on every hand. Thus the material that is available for study is enormous, and the books that treat of it are numbered by the thousand. The writer of a history of the modest dimensions of this volume must, therefore, pick and choose, and must ex clude far more than he can include in its pages and illustrations and the greatest possible compression must be resorted to, to cover even this restricted field within reasonable limits. I therefore make no apology for the manifest omis sions of this work. My readers may differ with me as to the excellence of the judgment shown in choosing what to keep and what to leave out, and no ones choice can possibly please all. But on the question of the amount to be omitted or included I was under inexorable necessity. What this book seeks to do is not to present a com pendium of all the arts and forms of ornament produced since 1400, but rather to sketch the general historic movement of the arts of decoration the genesis, evolu tion and succession of the various styles that have pre vailed and to analyze, describe and illustrate them in viii PREFACE such fashion that the reader may be led to an intelligent understanding of their character and some mastery of their dominant characteristics...
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