Explain The Victorian Period

Explain the Victorian Period. Design expert Deborah Burnett explains the Victorian period in furniture design. The Victorian period came about with the beginning of Expansionism in Europe and the war with...

The Victorian period came about with the beginning of Expansionism in Europe and the war with Mexico in America, so once again it comes back to social strife. This is around 1830-1860 and Queen Victoria is colonizing in South Africa, India, and Indochina. She was sending out a lot of folks and they were bringing products, information, and ideas back. Here in the United States we were fighting a war with Mexico so again it's more of an upheaval type of a period and furniture started getting heavier again. When times were rough, furniture gets lower and squattier and heavier and that's the hallmark of the Victorian furnishing era. It's heavier, it's darker, it's more comfortable than the thin taller Neoclassical, Egyptian and Gothic. It's also more ergonomically designed and at the same time new developments were being made in machinery. They said, "Let's throw everything together that we know and put it in one chair." They also began mixing upholstery with cane and wood and bending wood for the first time.


They started mixing paints and they came up with the color that's really not a color and it was mauve. Mauve was actually created by an English professor/chemist who was making a color for a drug and he decided to call it mauve; it became very popular during the Victorian period. Other new colors were bright greens, yellow greens, olive greens, brownish blacks, pink corals, dark golden yellows, rusty oranges, and brown-based burgundy. Towards the latter part of the Victorian era we get the rich blue/red-based burgundy. Also during the Victorian period, we started seeing embellishments. Instead of having delicate little details and scrolls on furnishings they started manufacturing these and mass-producing them. A lot of period stylists and educators today sort of dismiss the Victorian period because it was hodgepodge - everything that we know how to do we are going to throw into this furniture.


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