Five Rivers

Victorian Era Lighting

Named for Queen Victoria, the Victorian era was a prolific period of design spanning nearly the entire nineteenth century. Victoria ruled Britain as it emerged as the world's foremost power. Britain in most respects of the world came to cast its shadow over the whole of human affairs. Due to the British loyalty to the crown, the period's styles were named in reference to the reigning monarch of the world's largest empire. The British Empire was, by land area and population, the largest empire in history. Britain laid claim to territory on every continent and was the unrivaled master of the world's oceans. All actions of the British people are carried out in the name of the crown, the king or queen alive at the time. Victoria ruled Britain during its greatest decades. With regard to design, what today is referred to as Victorian style is actually several different design styles. Most of which were actually revivals or a rehashing of previous eras. Britain's success throughout the world brought about a reminiscing of sorts of the English Renaissance, the last period of successive triumphs in British history, as the end of the eighteenth century and beginning of the nineteenth was a bit humbling for mighty Britain. The loss of the thirteen colonies, and the mixed results of the Napoleonic Wars dealt a series of blows to Britain's pride and confidence in its monarchy. For all intensive purposes George III, the king during the American Revolutionary War, was the last British monarch to wield any real power. His granddaughter Victoria ruled at the beginning of the age when the monarchy served a wholly symbolic role. The fortunes of Victoria's kingdom were much different than that of her grandfather's. Britain's power grew tremendously, growing into an unrivaled world power. The pervasiveness of the empire was quite obviously the reason for its styles being so common place throughout the world. However, this success brought about nostalgia for the reign of the last great queen, Elizabeth I. The most common building style during the Victoria era was actually a combination of the design style of the Tudor dynasty, and specifically that dynasty's last monarchy, Elizabeth I. The designs made heavy use of stone exteriors but lavish wooden interiors. It was a time when Britain still retained its French influences and derived designs which were similar yet distinct from French pattern such as the fleur-de-lis. Most Americans associate the Victorian era with so called ginger bread houses. Houses with the cylindrical outcroppings and peculiar conical roofs. Yet, this too was a reuse of older design styles. These style of houses are actually called Queen Anne houses. Originally developed in in the eighteenth century during the Hundred Years War, the style was actually quite common in much of the English speaking world by the time Victoria took the throne. However, the growing affluence of Britain and her sprawling empire allowed the design to be carried across the world. Victorian architecture became popular in the United States toward the end of the eighteenth century, well into the industrial revolution. British architecture became popular in much of the rest of the world after the 1870s. The reason for this is quite simple, the collapse of the last Chinese imperial dynasty in the 1870s allowed Britain to supplant China as the worldÎęs wealthiest nation. Envy of British success made the nationÎęs styles particularly popular. Today, the style has a much different meaning but it nonetheless still popular. Recent cultural obsessions with historic buildings have given a resurgence to the importance of Victorian styles. Victorian interior are commonly remembered for their intrigue glass motifs. This is particularly evident amongst Victorian styled lamps, which are common in homes desiring a more aged look. Patrons of pool halls are familiar with the lights that once shinned over billiards tables across Victoria's empire.
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