Owen Jones (1809-74)
Menu card for the Paris International Exhibition
Printed by Thomas De La Rue & Co.
Given by Sir Henry Cole
Museum no. 27195A
This farewell banquet was held for foreign dignitaries visiting the 1867 Paris Exhibition. Jones had had a number of his designs in the display, and had won awards. The menu included dishes from many participating countries, including oysters from Belgium, caviar from Russia and coffee from Turkey. Its design was derived from Persian manuscripts.
Jones spent thirty years working for three generations of the famous De La Rue printing firm. He designed an astonishing variety of products including playing cards, postage stamps, chessboards, biscuit tins and even menu cards such as the one shown here.
Jones's work for De La Rue was so comprehensive and sustained that he developed a distinctive 'house style' for the printing firm - an early example of corporate branding. His output included over 200 designs for playing cards: this, combined with North American distribution, meant that Jones's designs would have been literally handled by millions of people.