Monday, September 15, 2008

Victorian Era, A

As we previously learned, the Industrial Revolution was a time of exploration, discovery, new inventions, and new building materials. However, the Industrial Revolution also served as a starting block for the Victorian Style.

In the nineteenth century, the middle class was beginning to grow and gain power; the people learned how to turn the Industrial Revolution into a source of wealth (Pile). By 1851, goods that were once rare and only affordable to the wealthy upper class had become easy to make and were inexpensive. This made it easy for the middle class to decorate their homes with materials and accessories to show off their rank on the social ladder, much like the upper class had.

However, this need or demand for more goods did not come without a price. Factory and mill owners, like the middle class, began to gain more wealth and even more power. Explain the extent of the factory owner’s power. What are some pros and cons of the factory owners holding so much power? And how did their power influence the nineteenth century and the Victorian Style?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Victorian Era, B.

The Victorian Era was directly impacted and influenced by the technological advancements being made. The style of this time period was a mere hodgepodge and mixture of previous styles. With this there was a certain freedom that some may argue has yet to be seen since. As the Industrial Revolution progressed, it became faster and cheaper to mass produce machine-made products that had been previously hand-crafted. The textiles were no longer designed by a craftsman, but were being created by factory workers with no artistic background. This process caused a decrease in quality, yet a more efficient cost effective way to produce goods. Ornamentation was often used to “conceal” imperfections in machine-made goods (Pile). Because of this convenience, ornamentation was used in excess and become the norm. With the growth of factories also came the growth of the middle class. The poor became wealthier, and with their new money, wanted to live the extravagant lifestyle. As they saw it, this meant acquiring large amounts of goods; the more the better.

The blend of styles, construction methods, and classes shaped the time period and style we know as the Victorian era. With technology advancing, it was an interesting time for experimentation with new methods, materials, and equipment. Specific examples of this technology is the power loom which efficiently produced textiles, and cast iron which was essential in mass producing “carved” ornamentation.
Although they brought efficiency, did these technological advancements have a negative or positive effect on the styles of the Victorian Era? What were some of the positive and negative stylistic qualities that came from this period?

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.