S&SWM PR papers L280

L280 copyright S&SWM PR papers

[NB there are two L280s, the other is written by John Lubbock]


Wellesley Studio: Sutton: Surrey | March 4: 1887

Dr. Sir

I think you will kindly excuse the liberty I take in addressing you when I say that I am engaged in the preparation of a very large work on the origins of ornamental forms, & that I am indebted to your most interesting collection of savage-tribe objects for some most important facts. When I first had the advantage of seeing your collection at South Kensington I think a diagram was exhibited showing how the form of a man had degenerated into a mere ornament. In one of my own founds [sic] from central Africa occur these two figures [2 Drawings] and if my memory serves me rightly these were on your diagram. If you could assist me by completing the series I should feel deeply indebted to you.

You may possibly know my work on the arts & industries of Japan (Longman).*

Trusting that you will pardon the liberty that I take in addressing you

I am
Yours faithfully
C.W. Dresser

To Gen. Pitt Rivers &c &c



Wellesley Studio: Sutton: Surrey | March 12th 1887

Dear Sir

I thank you for kind letter of yesterday's date & will look up the Journal of the Royal Institution.** Any information that you can give me, or direct me to respecting the origin of ornamental forms I shall be most grateful for.

I am Yours truly
C.W. Dresser

To: General Pitt Rivers &c &c

Christopher Dresser (1834-1904) was an English designer and design theorist, a pivotal figure in the Aesthetic movement according to his entry on wikipedia. For more information see here and also here. It seems possible that he never published his large work on ornamentation as his last well-known work was published in 1886 (before this letter was written) although that too was on a similar subject, 'Modern Ornamentation'.

* This presumably refers to 'Japan, its Architecture, Art and Art-Manufactures' [1882]

** Pitt-Rivers obviously suggested he read The Evolution of Culture,Journal of the Royal Institute 7 [1875] pp. 357-389 and presumably was referring him to the changes in New Ireland paddle decoration

Transcribed by AP May 2011 as part of the Rethinking Pitt-Rivers project.

prm logo