Victorian Architecture – Part 2
As we saw in part one of this blog, it is impossible to group all the homes built in Victorian times as of the same genre. It very much depended on where the building was and whom it was for. A rich man’s Victorian home would have many luxuries like heavy curtains to keep the drafts out, thick carpets for the same reason, water pumps, gas supply, indoor bathrooms and lavish décor. The richer the owner was the bigger the property and more ornate the fixtures and fittings inside were. In opposition to this was the average working-man’s home, which could just be one or two simple rooms with very austere furnishings.
The Dining Room
The Dining Room of a well-to-do Victorian gentleman was a place for showing off, guests would be invited to lavish formal dinner parties where issues of the day were politely discussed. The room would be large which would be bright and had rich colored walls either with lavish wall paper or ornately painted. A chandelier would provide excellent illumination along with candle holders on the walls. This excess of light was to display wealth that the owner could afford with all the expensive paintings and ornaments that adorned the room. If the owner wanted to portray a more classic look then a silver candelabra would be placed in the center of the opulent dining table.
Furniture in a rich man’s Victorian house was also to display his wealth more than for comfort. Having said that, some of the most classic furniture of all time was made in the Victorian era. Furniture and cabinet makers such as William Morris made exquisite furniture during this period from exotic woods such as walnut, rosewood and mahogany. This elegant furniture in dark and colored woods was elaborate and ornate and fitted into the room’s décor perfectly. In the latter part of the Victorian England rich houses were decorated in highly ornate and very expensive wallpaper.
Wallpaper had become an essential part of the interior décor of a home in late Victorian times. Because of the mass production techniques that had now been developed, wallpaper was affordable to nearly everybody and not just the rich. It allowed the average man a chance to display his wealth by hanging decorative wallpaper on the walls, that secretly only cost a fraction of earlier hand-made wallpaper. Choosing the correct colors and designs was quite difficult and depended on many factors.
Firstly, the room size was a major factor, if the room to be decorated was large then a plainer design was best, however if the room was more bijou like a small study then an intricate design would give the impression of space. If the pattern of the wallpaper was large, then this only suited grand rooms with high ceilings.
Finally, if the room was dark then metallic or brighter colors were more advised to increase what natural or candle light there was. We end our journey to Victorian architecture and design with wall coverings as they were a vital part of interior décor of the time.