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Victorian Lighting

Victorian Lighting and Home Decor

About Victorian Style

Victorian style takes its name from Queen Victoria of England, who reigned from 1837 to 1901. In architecture, Victorian style consists of several sub-styles. At the beginning of the Victorian era, Italianate houses became a trend. They are box-shaped with wide eaves, a short square tower centered on the roof, and ornamental brackets. They are reminiscent of a Renaissance Italian villa. Gothic Revival was another Victorian style. It pulled elements from Medieval times like cathedral-style windows and arches. Some were made of stone and looked like little castles. Queen Anne is perhaps the most well-known of the Victorian styles. Queen Anne houses featured wrap-around porches, turrets, and towers. Sometimes the term "gingerbread" is applied to Victorian houses. There often was a great deal of complex painted wood exterior decoration including machine-cut geometrics and turned wood posts.

Not to be outdone by the exteriors, the interiors of Victorian style homes were packed with detail. Intricate patterns (not matching) were found in the carpet, upholstery, wall paper, and drapes. Furniture was highly decorated with wood carvings. Curves were everywhere. Woods were generally dark, such as mahogany. The lighting of the era was candle, then gaslight fixtures. When electricity came along, the gas fixtures were converted to electric.

Victorian style lighting uses a great deal of bent glass (beige, pink, or light-colored art glass that is heated and bent into soft curves, then soldered together for lamps or ceiling lights). Quite often these bent-glass lampshades are finished off with a curtain of hanging glass beads along the bottom. Some lampshades are made of brocade fabric with these glass beads. Another popular style lamp uses various colors of blown-glass lily shades. Victorian culture was fascinated with nature and its forms. In this respect the end of the Victorian era overlapped the Tiffany style and incorporated it into their home designs.