The V&A Sourcebook of Pattern and Ornament (Victoria and Albert Museum)


This book is not yet published, but will be available from December 2021.

ISBN: 9780500480724 Category:

Amelia Calver


The wealth of surface pattern and three-dimensional ornamentation in the many objects that enrich our lives is testament to the inventiveness of designers and craftspeople around the globe and throughout history.

This richly illustrated, easy-to-navigate sourcebook presents more than 1,000 historic and contemporary examples of pattern and ornamentation from around the world, each one succinctly identified and explained. Arranged thematically, it is unique among pattern books, as it includes examples not only of surface pattern but also of three-dimensional ornamentation and embellishment.

Two-dimensional pattern is ubiquitous, no matter what the age of an object or where it was created. From Japanese kimono and William Morris fabrics to Chinese porcelain and contemporary furniture, such works reveal humanity’s unceasing desire to combine pattern with design. Just as prevalent are examples of three-dimensional embellishments that go far beyond the requirements of their practical use: an acrylic handbag has a carved motif of insects and wildflowers, a cobalt-blue pottery ewer has a dragon’s-head spout and an early 19th-century fruit plate is shaped like a seashell.

Designers working today are as fascinated and inspired by pattern and ornament as they have always been. This expertly compiled selection will appeal to designers, artists, illustrators and other creatives from all disciplines as well as anyone interested in visual and material culture.

With 1146 illustrations in colour

Additional information

Weight 1848 g
Dimensions 22.9 x 26.7 cm
Publisher name Thames and Hudson Ltd
Publication date 14 December 2021
Number of pages 400
Format Hardback
Dimensions 22.9 x 26.7 cm
Weight 1848 g


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Amelia Calver is Licensing Research and Development Manager at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. She has worked at the V&A for more than twenty years and has an impressive familiarity with the museum's extensive collections, particularly of the fabric and wallpaper designs from around the world that have been acquired during the V&A's 170-year history.