SPELTZ, Alexander

L'Ornement Polychrome dans tous les styles historiques


Part one. L’Antiquité
Part two. Le Moyen-Âge
Part three. Temps Moderne

Leipzig: K.F.Koehlers Antiquarium. n.d. [1915].

First edition. Three volumes each consisting of a suite of sixty coloured plates, showing examples of polychrome decoration, design and ornament from three broad historical periods, tipped-in on grey card with descriptive captions. These are housed, loose, in their original portfolio folders of grey paper covered boards with beige cloth hinges. The title is printed in grey and yellow on the upper covers with a Greek helmet device in the centre. Title printed in black on the spine. Some shelfwear and spotting to the folders but overall in very good condition. The plates are in excellent condition, bright and vivid. The grey cards to which they are attached are generally very good with a little creasing to the edges of some of them in part three and with a tear to the top left corner of the title leaf of part three with loss but no damage to the image. Each image measures approximately 190x260mm and the card 278x374mm. Captions and text are in French. The second part (Le Moyen Âge) only has the descriptive booklet, in French, (242x328mm. pp. [viii], 50) containing an introduction to the images. (N.B. please ask about shipping costs as these are heavy items)

Alexander Speltz was a German designer and architect. In 1904 he had published The Styles of Ornament which was expanded for the second edition two years later. The intention was to represent the entire range of ornament from pre-history to the mid-nineteenth century. The present volumes with a total of 180 plates is a survey of polychrome ornament covering antiquity (including Egypt, the Middle East, Greece, the Etruscans, the Hellenistic period and Rome), the middle ages across Europe and, the modern period which is essentially the Renaissance and early Baroque. The plates are attractive reproductions of Speltz’s own paintings and cover architecture, furniture and all the decorative arts such as floor mosaics, stained glass, metalwork, the book arts, tapestry and wall painting. A wonderful, encyclopaedic collection. 

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