Art and Design

Victorian Decoration

Sometimes even ordinary objects are designed with decorative patterns. This example is a Victorian ventilation grille which the artist Falcon Hildred found in an old shop that was being demolished. It was just a plate to cover a hole in the wall, but someone went to the trouble of making it beautiful. Victorians designers were inspired by the geometrical patterns of the Middle Ages, for example in the stonework of churches and cathedrals.

How did the designer of this grille make such a complicated pattern so accurately? Falcon Hildred was interested in working out how the design was made from lines, circles and arcs. He did this drawing to show all the stages, from left to right.



You can read stages 1-9 below with the drawing to see how it was done. To make your own version of the pattern you will need a computer drawing application or paper with a pencil, ruler and compasses.

  1. Draw vertical and horizontal lines to make a grid of squares.
  2. Draw circles centred on the corners of your squares and diagonal lines through them.
  3. Draw four smaller circles around each of the first circles centred where they cross the vertical and horizontal lines.
  4. Draw another circle inside the first circle to make a ring.
  5. Put diagonal boxes around each group of circles.
  6. Draw arcs centred on the small circles.
  7. Project more diagonals from the centres of the small circles and strengthen all the lines you want to show.
  8. Make the lines you want to show into a double line.
  9. Rub out/delete your working lines to show the completed shapes.

You could try doing the stages slightly differently to work out a pattern of your own.