The Audsley Brothers (George Ashdown and William James) were trained as architects in Elgin, Scotland and moved to Liverpool where they established a practice in 1860. Until their collaboration ended in 1884, they produced many picture books on the constituent elements of the trade. By 1890 both brothers were settled in the United States where their combination of scholarship and practice were just as successful. G.E. established an additional reputation as musical composer and pioneer builder of organs.

The plates shown above are characteristic of such publications which had been popular as pattern books since the 1850's. From Owen Jones Grammar of Ornament (1853) onwards such books are printed, mainly in lithography and with high production values. The range of pattern, colour and narrative elements were intended for the architectural profession but also for amateur decorators.