I been collecting monograms since several years. You find interesting monograms in old books (no, I don't mean design books). The first letter of a chapter usually starts with a monogram. They don't that anymore. Here's a monogram, I found on the cover of a diary.
If you want all the intricate background details, click on the image to enlarge. I've seen this kind of decorative work in a 1913 Cassell and Company, Ltd. publication Decorative Designs for All Purposes edited by Paul N. Hasluck. The book has an image of a marble column of Ancient Rome similar to the style featured above. While this background image is would make wonderful marble and wood carvings, it would work just as well for both embroidery, fabric painting or pencil sketching.