Victorian Style (1837-1901)

The Victorian Furniture Style spread under Queen Victoria, whose passion for ornate design styles influenced public opinion.

Buckingham Palace & Queen Victoria Memorial: The palace sits in the background, while a large garden with red and yellow flowers sit in the foreground.
Buckingham Palace and the Queen Victoria Memorial statue (left) in London, England

Image source: by shining.darkness

Who was Victoria?

Queen Victoria inherited the throne when she was 18, after her all her uncles passed away. As they left no legitimate children to ascend to the throne, Victoria became Queen of the United Kingdom and Ireland. Her reign lasted 63 years and seven months, which is now called the “Victorian Age.”

Queen Victoria by Mayall, 1 March 1861: Photo of her in a dark gown with a light-colored hair piece.
Queen Victoria by Mayall, March 1st 1861

Image source: by whatsthatpicture

The Biggest Achievements of the Victorian Age

Science and technology, in the Victorian Age, were very important, and the inventions made during this period had great influence. London was the location of the Great Exhibition of 1851, organized by Henry Cole, Prince Albert, Queen Victoria, and several members of the Royal Society. It was a celebration of modern industrial technology and design, for which The Crystal Palace was built.

Queen Victoria presiding at the state opening of the Great Exhibition of 1851 at the Crystal Palace, Sydenham Hill, London, May 1, 1851.
The Great Exhibition of 1851 at the Crystal Palace, in London, England.

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About the Style

Architecture of this period has distinct characteristics. Moreover, architects took ideas from Gothic architecture and other movements throughout history and nature. Here are the names of some important architects:

  • Richard Norman Shaw: A British urban designer who worked on many influential country houses in the “Queen Anne” style for town and country
Lowther Lodge, headquarters of the Royal Geographical Society, designed by Richard Norman Shaw in 1873-1875. A large medium-colored brick structure with large white windows.
Lowther Lodge designed by Richard Norman Shaw in 1873-1875

Image source: by David Hawgood

  • George W. Bourne: Designed the Wedding Cake House in 1825, in Kennebunk, Maine. Like several mansions in the Victorian era, they have wooden Gothic decoration, added in 1850, to keep up with architecture trends.
The Wedding Cake House, Kennebunk Landing, Maine: A large ornate, yellow structure with white details.
Drawing of the Wedding Cake House (1825) designed by G.Bourne

Image source: by Boston Public Library

This style has many distinctive features, such as two to three floors, asymmetrical shapes, mansard roof, porch, towers, and vibrant colors.

The Victorian Style Today

Today we can find many buildings still decorated in the Victorian Style. For example, the famous “Painted Ladies of San Francisco,” are a row of colorful Victorian houses located in the neighborhood of Haight-Ashbury in California. The name “Painted Ladies” refers to the three or more paint colors used to show their architectural detailing.

Photo from the 90's sitcom, Full House of the Painted Ladies houses in San Francisco. These ornate houses are in various colors and are in the Victorian Style.
“The Painted Ladies,” located in San Francisco, California

Image source: by mescon

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