From the Preface:
The late war in China, and the Ti-ping rebellion, by the destruction and sacking of many public buildings, has caused the introduction to Europe of a great number of truly magnificent works of Ornamental Art, of a character which had been rarely seen before that period, and which are remarkable, not only for the perfection and skill shown in the technical processes, but also for the beauty and harmony of the colouring, and general perfection of the ornamentation. In the following Plates I have gathered together as great a variety of these new styles of Ornament as have come within my reach, and I trust that no important phase of this Art has escaped me. I have had the advantage of access to the National Collection at South Kensington and the unrivalled collection of Alfred Morrison, Esq., of Fonthill, who has secured the finest specimens from time to time, as they have appeared in this country. From the collection of Louis Huth, Esq., exhibited in South Kensington, and from many objects in the possession of M. Digby Wyatt, Esq., Col. De La Rue, Thomas Chappell, Esq., F. 0. Ward, Esq., Messrs. Nixon and Rhodes, and others, the bulk of the compositions have been obtained.