Cover image for Twentieth-century ornament
Twentieth-century ornament
Woodham, Jonathan M.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Rizzoli, 1990.
Physical Description:
335 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 29 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
NK1390 .W6 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

On Order



Encompassing constructivism, classicism, Bauhaus, surrealism, pop, and postmodern, Woodham's (design history, Brighton Polytechnic) chronological account describes, compares and contrasts all the major trends in North American and European ornament from 1900 to the present. With 400 illustrations, 200 in color. Annotation(c) 2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

A smorgasbord for browsers, a repository of images for designers and craftspeople in all fields, this delightful, inclusive survey deciphers the visual culture of everyday life. Ornament is taken in its widest context, including everything from hotel architecture to Russian folk ceramics, food processors, hi-fi sets, Swatch watches and posters. Woodham, a British lecturer in design history, makes tantalizing connections: an Austrian abstract fabric design is shown to resemble Gustav Klimt's paintings; architectural monumentalism is tracked in both Soviet Russia and Germany of the 1930s. The outstanding illustrations, combined with a chronological narrative, lend coherence to the nearly impossible task of tracing modern ornamentation in all its forms and styles, from roadside vernacular to new wave. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Choice Review

Woodham focuses primarily on architectural and design trends in Europe and America in this concise survey lavishly illustrated with 400 images (half in color). The large format of 17 x 11 inches allows for a comfortable layout of copy, caption, and illustration. Most of the 300-plus pages contain one or more images, making the text at times seem secondary or, at most, to be read like extended captions. The contents are chronologically arranged into eight chapters beginning with the early 1900s and concluding with an all-too-brief comment (which this reviewer feels was unnecessary and premature) on the nature of ornamentation in the '90s. The book concludes with chapter notes, a list of designers and design organizations, and an extensive bibliography. Woodham has done a marvelous job of collecting and selecting outstanding images on the subject. He continues the tradition of other British writers and educators who have made major contributions to contemporary design history. The book should appeal to general audiences as well as to art, design, and architectural students who require a general visual reference on the subject. -D. Ichiyama, Purdue University