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Documenting Design: Works on Paper from the European Department of the Royal Ontario Museum

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To understand the history of decorative arts and design it is necessary to study the ways in which designs are created and transmitted. Documenting Design seeks to show how prints and drawings can demonstrate numerous aspects of the role of works on paper in the history of design. From early in the history of printmaking, prints were used to communicate designs both for specific objects and for ornamental patterns that could be applied to different kinds of objects, including architectural elements. A special ...
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Overview

To understand the history of decorative arts and design it is necessary to study the ways in which designs are created and transmitted. Documenting Design seeks to show how prints and drawings can demonstrate numerous aspects of the role of works on paper in the history of design. From early in the history of printmaking, prints were used to communicate designs both for specific objects and for ornamental patterns that could be applied to different kinds of objects, including architectural elements. A special category is the pattern- or model-book, intended to promote a particular style or approach to the design of furniture or decoration. Printed ornament sheets may also be self-contained works of art, unsuited to direct application to objects. Here, printed ornament becomes simply a genre of fine art, like landscape and portraiture, for example. This was especially so during the Rococo era. Countless buildings, rooms, objects, and decorative schemes - some of them famous in their day - no longer exist. Important design "events" such as festivities and ceremonies have often comprised great quantities of ephemeral architecture, decoration, and decorated objects. Such products of design can often only be studied in the prints and drawings that record their existence. Unlike prints, drawings can document and therefore present a unique insight into the process by which a designer develops and finalizes an idea. Drawings can also demonstrate the collaborative nature of the decorative arts: designers and makers were (and are) rarely identical. Many drawings have survived because they were contract drawings, meant to be shown to a potential customer or patron, and kept as a record of a transaction. Designs for metalwork were frequently drawn at full scale, both for maximum clarity and in order to create a vivid impression of the amounts of precious metal required. Since the 15th century, prints have been designed to be used as objects themselves, either in conjunctio
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Editorial Reviews

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Over 70 monochrome reproductions of prints and drawings that represent a 450-year history of European decorative arts and design, including Old Master prints, menu borders, theater programs, psychedelic posters, and photocopied handbills. The catalogue for an exhibit that runs through August 1993 at the Royal Ontario Museum. No index. Paper edition (unseen), $35. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802074546
  • Publisher: University of Toronto Press
  • Publication date: 3/27/1993
  • Pages: 120

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