Monday, February 14, 2011

Ornament Drawings

The best drawing I have found of the structure of the acanthus scroll
These incredible details are from a huge (13 3/4" x 9") three volume set of prints engraved in 1872 by C. Claesen entitled Spécimens de la décoration et de l'ornementation au XIXe siècle. The amount of work involved In the drawings alone is staggering, let alone the time spent carving them out of stone or wood, casting them in iron, gilding them, painting them on panels, or sculpting them in clay and casting them out of plaster. These guys must have been just churning this stuff out. It's no wonder they got a little weird every now and then, like: What exactly are these two monkey people up to?

The quality of the draughtsmanship in every engraving is just superb. I'm giving you a close up view here, hoping that you'll enjoy these as much as I do. They are exquisite examples of how to draw ornament.

I posted a set of 187 images from the book here, on my Flickr page. Don't forget to click the largest size before you download.


  1. The drawings are fantastic, thanks for sharing! I'm looking forward to referencing them for some of my projects.

  2. these are magnificent! thanks, alan!

  3. Wonderful, your posting made my day (visually) Drawing them is hard, modeling them even more so, but a clear drawing is the only map into Acanthus Land.

  4. You are a hard worker.
    Thank´s a ton , for sharing.

  5. Yay! Yay! I am in acanthus heaven!!!!

  6. Heaven on earth!

    Thanks for your wonderful generosity!~

    You ought to write a book...

  7. Alan, you're a treasury! Like a gnome of ornament, you happily mine gold and richly share. Carved treasure of jade, heart and soul of a Golden Age.

    Mystics speak of God in terms of bliss and now I think I know why. If even a fraction of this could ever hit you all at once, you'd just be annihilated by it. Who could contain such beauty.

    Draughtsmanship is extraordinary... a drawing lesson in every plate. The mind that conceived these ... just incredible.

    Thank you for this ... once again, simply wonderful.

  8. Thanks Mark.

    It's true: even leaving aside Sacred Geometry and the Golden Ratio for a while, it seems to me there is something essential revealed in these drawings.

  9. Oh my gosh, but these are fabulous and great inspiration! Thank you. Is this your set of books? how do you find these wonderful treasures? Love all that you share here

  10. Alan, these are amazing drawings - I've never seen such a collection anywhere. You are incredibly generous to share these. Thank you - what a treat!

  11. Nothing but the best is good enoughfor me,

    so here are we ;)

    Thanks so much for all of this &

    Thank you for being you :)

  12. Thanks was really needing this for inspiration for a full sleeve

  13. Pope; if you're listening, I'd really love to see a photo of the finished piece.

  14. No problem 29 December i have a drawing session and the 29 Feberuari we are getting started i will show you pictures when where done. it might take a while because its a full sleeve :P

  15. This is very interesting post..and nice review about this article..this is looking awesome..You doing great job..thanks for sharing here.

  16. Love, love, love. Thank you.

    I found the book online <, but was unable to locate the Acanthus at the top of this blog entry. Did it come from the same book? Do you have a photo of the full figure?


    Your uploads to Flicker of parts:


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