William Deane Butler and Edmund Walker, 'Owen Jones's decoration of the transept of the Great Exhibition'

William Deane Butler and Edmund Walker, 'Owen Jones's decoration of the transept of the Great Exhibition'

William Deane Butler and Edmund Walker
'Owen Jones's decoration of the transept of the Great Exhibition'
1850
Watercolour on paper
Museum no. AL.8270

Owen Jones submitted this as one of two paintings which formed part of the final approval process for his design for the decoration of the Crystal Palace interior. Inspired by the use of primary colours in ancient Egypt and Greece, and at the Alhambra, he intended the colour scheme to form a 'neutralised bloom'. Commentators at the time compared the beauty of this 'hazy indistinctness' to the paintings of Turner.

Jones believed that colour should help define 'form' within architecture. He used primary colours to distinguish between the Crystal Palace' numerous iron columns and to create a sense of depth and perspective. The central fabric hangings shown in the William Simpson watercolour never materialised, but they would have complemented the hanging carpets in creating the atmosphere of an eastern bazaar.