Sunday, January 28, 2007
The Victorian Era_A
The Victorian Era was highlighted by organic carvings and ornamentation covering as much surface as possible. Even the middle class could afford to clutter their homes with decoration. With the implication of mass production, merchandise were produced much quicker and cheaper, allowing the lower income homes to be able to afford to decorate. As much “stuff” went into middle class homes, even more went into upper class homes to the point of which it makes you wonder how they even got around in their own homes. Especially considering light could barely penetrate the room through the many layers of thick curtains and blinds onto the dark walls of the interior. As you can see in the image to the left, the dark floral wallpaper and the vibrant colors of the cluttered furniture makes the space very busy and therefore interpreted as affluent.
This ostentatious display of decoration was associated with wealth, so the English of the Victorian Era crammed their homes with furniture, knickknacks, and luxury items, such as pianos, to show their refinement and taste. Homes were not the only element they enhanced to demonstrate their wealth. The Victorian’s attire was also exaggerated, which actually had an effect on interior spaces. The wide bell skirts required a wider seat and even staircases were widened to accommodate the style of clothing in the Victorian Era.
England was not the only country to embrace the design ideology of the Victorian era. Most of the styles that came out of England were influential all over, specifically in the United States. However, America did not take on quite as much of the organic quality of the English Victorian style, but refined the style into a more straight forward, controlled look. In the translation of the Victorian Era to America, some of the creativity, vitality, and the fluid quality of the style was lost.
Some Critics argue that the Victorian Era marks a low point in design as far as aesthetic quality and taste is concerned. The abundance of ornamentation can be viewed as gaudy and tasteless to some. Do you agree that the Victorian era was a low point in design or was the style aesthetically successful? Also, do you feel as though the way in which America interpreted or refined the style was an improvement or a step back?
This blog is intended for the interior design students in the college of design at the University of Kentucky. It was created with the intent to present students with information, providing them with a channel for contemplation and discussion.