Victorian architecture is a series of architectural revival styles in the mid-to-late 19th century. Victorian refers to the reign of Queen Victoria (1837–1901), called the Victorian era, during which period the styles known as Victorian were used in construction. However, many elements of what is typically termed "Victorian" architecture did not become popular until later in Victoria's reign, roughly from 1850 and later. The styles often included interpretations and eclectic revivals of historic styles (see Historicism). The name represents the British and French custom of naming architectural styles for a reigning monarch. Within this naming and classification scheme, it followed Georgian architecture and later Regency architecture, and was succeeded by Edwardian architecture.
Although Victoria did not reign over the United States, the term is often used for American styles and buildings from the same period, as well as those from the British Empire.
Victorian architecture in the United KingdomEdit
During the early 19th century, the romantic medieval Gothic Revival style was developed as a reaction to the symmetry of Palladianism, and such buildings as Fonthill Abbey were built.
By the middle of the 19th century, as a result of new technology, construction was able to incorporate metal materials as building components. Structures were erected with cast iron and wrought iron frames. However, due to being weak in tension, these materials were effectively phased out in place for more structurally sound steel. One of the greatest exponents of iron frame construction was Joseph Paxton, architect of the Crystal Palace. Paxton also continued to build such houses as Mentmore Towers, in the still popular English Renaissance styles. New methods of construction were developed in this era of prosperity, but ironically the architectural styles, as developed by such architects as Augustus Pugin, were typically retrospective.
In Scotland, the architect Alexander Thomson who practised in Glasgow was a pioneer of the use of cast iron and steel for commercial buildings, blending neo-classical conventionality with Egyptian and Oriental themes to produce many truly original structures. Other notable Scottish architects of this period are Archibald Simpson and Alexander Marshall Mackenzie, whose stylistically varied work can be seen in the architecture of Aberdeen.
While Scottish architects pioneered this style it soon spread right across the United Kingdom and remained popular for another forty years. Its architectural value in preserving and reinventing the past is significant. Its influences were diverse but the Scottish architects who practiced it were inspired by unique ways to blend architecture, purpose, and everyday life in a meaningful way.
Other Revival stylesEdit
- Jacobethan (1830–1870; the precursor to the British Queen Anne Revival style)
- Renaissance Revival (1840–1890)
- Neo-Grec (1845–1865)
- Romanesque Revival
- Second Empire (1855–1880; originated in France)
- British Queen Anne Revival (1870–1910)
- Scots Baronial (predominantly Scotland)
- British Arts and Crafts movement (1880–1910)
Some styles, while not uniquely Victorian, are strongly associated with the 19th century owing to the large number of examples that were erected during that period:
Palace of Westminster, Neo-Gothic completed in 1870. Designed by Sir Charles Barry and Augustus Pugin
Royal Albert Hall, London
The "Red Brick" Victoria Building at the University of Liverpool, completed in 1893 in Gothic Revival style. Designed by Alfred Waterhouse
The Victorian Pavilion at The Oval cricket ground in London
Victorian School of Art and Science at Stroud, Gloucestershire
House on the Hardwick House estate near Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
The John Rylands Library in Manchester
The Aston Webb building at the University of Birmingham, UK
Victoria Law Courts, Birmingham, UK
The Gilbert Scott Building of the University of Glasgow, as viewed from Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow. An example of the Gothic Revival style
North of Scotland Bank in Aberdeen by Archibald Simpson 1839–42
Balmoral Castle, completely rebuilt for Queen Victoria, an example of the Scots Baronial style
Walsall Victorian Arcade, UK
Barclays Bank building, Sutton, Greater London
Forth Rail Bridge, Firth of Forth, near Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
International spread of Victorian stylesEdit
During the 18th century, a few English architects emigrated to the colonies, but as the British Empire became firmly established during the 19th century, many architects emigrated at the start of their careers. Some chose the United States, and others went to Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Normally, they applied architectural styles that were fashionable when they left England. By the latter half of the century, however, improving transport and communications meant that even remote parts of the Empire had access to publications such as the magazine The Builder, which helped colonial architects keep informed about current fashion. Thus, the influence of English architecture spread across the world. Several prominent architects produced English-derived designs around the world, including William Butterfield (St Peter's Cathedral, Adelaide) and Jacob Wrey Mould (Chief Architect of Public Works in New York City).
The Victorian period flourished in Australia and is generally recognised as being from 1840 to 1890, which saw a gold rush and population boom during the 1880s in the states of New South Wales and Victoria. There were fifteen styles that predominated:
- Victorian Georgian
- Victorian Regency
- Academic Classical
- Free Classical
- Second Empire
- Academic Gothic
- Free Gothic
- Rustic Gothic
- Carpenter Gothic
The Arts and Crafts style and Queen Anne style are considered to be part of the Federation Period, from 1890 to 1915.
Melbourne's world heritage Royal Exhibition Building, built in 1880 (Free Classical)
General Post Office, Sydney, in the Free Classical style (1891)
Hotel Windsor, Melbourne, 1885
St Peter's Cathedral, Adelaide (Gothic Revival)
Sydney Town Hall, in Second Empire style
Queen Victoria Building in Romanesque style (1898)
South Melbourne Town Hall in Second Empire style
St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney, in Victorian Gothic architecture (1882)
State Library of Victoria of the Academic Classical style (1870)
Brookman Hall, UniSA City East Campus, Adelaide, South Australia
Italianate home in Randwick
Filigree style terraces in Surry Hills with ornate iron-wrought detailing
Second Empire and Filigree residence in South Yarra
Western influence in architecture was strong when Hong Kong was a British colony. Victorian architecture in Hong Kong:
Former Marine Police Headquarters (now officially named as '1881 Heritage', which is a hotel and a shopping mall)
Georgian architecture is more prominent in Ireland than Victorian architecture. The cities of Dublin, Limerick, and Cork are famously dominated by Georgian squares and terraces. Though Victorian architecture flourished in certain quarters. Particularly around Dublin's Wicklow Street and Upper Baggot Street and in the suburbs of Phibsboro, Glasnevin, Rathmines, Ranelagh, Rathgar, Rathfarnham, and Terenure. The colourful Italianate buildings of Cobh are excellent examples of the regional Victorian style in Ireland. Further examples of Victorian architecture in the country include Dublin's George's Street Arcade, the Royal City of Dublin Hospital on Baggot Street and the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital on Adelaide Road.
A Victorian terrace in Cobh known as the "deck of cards"
Victorian shops and cafes, including the George's Street Arcade, Dublin D02
Victorian Upper Baggot Street, Dublin D02
Victorian terraced houses in Dublin D6W
Rathmines Clock Tower, Rathmines, Dublin D06
The Royal City of Dublin Hospital, Dublin D04
The Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital, Adelaide Road, Dublin D02
During the British colonial period of British Ceylon: Sri Lanka Law College, Sri Lanka College of Technology, Galle Face Hotel and the Royal College Main Building.
In the United States, 'Victorian' architecture generally describes styles that were most popular between 1860 and 1900. A list of these styles most commonly includes Second Empire (1855–85), Stick-Eastlake (1860–ca. 1890), Folk Victorian (1870–1910), Queen Anne (1880–1910), Richardsonian Romanesque (1880–1900), and Shingle (1880–1900). As in the United Kingdom, examples of Gothic Revival and Italianate continued to be constructed during this period, and are therefore sometimes called Victorian. Some historians classify the later years of Gothic Revival as a distinctive Victorian style named High Victorian Gothic. Stick-Eastlake, a manner of geometric, machine-cut decorating derived from Stick and Queen Anne, is sometimes considered a distinct style. On the other hand, terms such as "Painted Ladies" or "gingerbread" may be used to describe certain Victorian buildings, but do not constitute a specific style. The names of architectural styles (as well as their adaptations) varied between countries. Many homes combined the elements of several different styles and are not easily distinguishable as one particular style or another.
Notable Victorian-inspired cities during this era include Alameda, Astoria, Albany, Deal, Troy, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Boston, the Brooklyn Heights and Victorian Flatbush sections of New York City, Buffalo, Rochester, Chicago, Columbus, Detroit, Eureka, Galena, Galveston, Grand Rapids, Baltimore, Jersey City/Hoboken, Cape May, Louisville, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Richmond, Saint Paul, San Francisco and Midtown in Sacramento. Los Angeles grew from a Pueblo (village) into a Victorian Downtown – now almost entirely demolished but with residential remnants in its Angelino Heights and Westlake neighborhoods. San Francisco is particularly well-known for its extensive Victorian architecture, especially in the Haight-Ashbury, Lower Haight, Alamo Square, Western Addition, Mission, Duboce Triangle, Noe Valley, Castro, Nob Hill, and Pacific Heights neighborhoods.
The extent to which any one is the "largest surviving example" is debated, with numerous qualifications. The Distillery District in Toronto, Ontario contains the largest and best preserved collection of Victorian-era industrial architecture in North America. Cabbagetown is the largest and most continuous Victorian residential area in North America. Other Toronto Victorian neighbourhoods include The Annex, Parkdale, and Rosedale. In the US, the South End of Boston is recognized by the National Register of Historic Places as the oldest and largest Victorian neighborhood in the country. Old Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky, also claims to be the nation's largest Victorian neighborhood. Richmond, Virginia is home to several large Victorian neighborhoods, the most prominent being The Fan. The Fan district is best known locally as Richmond's largest and most 'European' of Richmond's neighborhoods and nationally as the largest contiguous Victorian neighborhood in the United States. The Old West End neighborhood of Toledo, Ohio is recognized as the largest collection of late Victorian and Edwardian homes in the United States, east of the Mississippi. Summit Avenue in Saint Paul, Minnesota, has the longest line of Victorian homes in the country. Over-The-Rhine in Cincinnati, Ohio, has the largest collection of early Victorian Italianate architecture in the United States, and is an example of an intact 19th-century urban neighborhood. According to National Register of Historic Places, Cape May Historic District has one of the largest collections of late 19th century frame buildings left in the United States.
The photo album L'Architecture Americaine by Albert Levy published in 1886 is perhaps the first recognition in Europe of the new forces emerging in North American architecture.
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, by Frank Furness
Allegheny County Courthouse, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, by Henry Hobson Richardson
The California Southern Railroad's San Diego passenger terminal, built in 1887
Brooklyn Bridge, 1883, New York City
The Carson Mansion in Eureka, California, widely considered one of the highest executions of Queen Anne style, built 1884–86
John Steinbeck's childhood home in Salinas, California
Emlen Physick Estate in Cape May Historic District, New Jersey, by Frank Furness
The Saitta House, Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, New York, built in 1899 is designed in the Queen Anne style
1880s photo of 653 W Wrightwood (now 655 W Wrightwood) in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois
The Italianate style Farnam Mansion in Oneida, New York. Built circa 1862
James J. Hill House in St. Paul, Minnesota, built in 1891
Series of Italianate tenements in Over-The-Rhine, Cincinnati, Ohio
Ford Piquette Avenue Plant, Detroit, Michigan, built 1904
Gingerbread trim on an 1882 house in Cape May, New Jersey
The Jacob C. Allen House (c. 1870) in Hackettstown, New Jersey
Canada's chief dominion architects designed numerous federal buildings over the course of the Victorian era. Thomas Fuller's completion of the Canadian Parliament Buildings in 1866, in particular, established a High Victorian Gothic influence over Canadian architectural design for several consecutive decades, producing many public buildings, churches, residences, industrial buildings, and hotels.
British Columbia Parliament Buildings (main block)
Office of the Prime Minister and Privy Council (formerly Langevin Block)
Thomas Fuller Building (Brockville, Ontario)
University College, Toronto Main Building
Because India was a colony of Britain, Victorian Architecture is prevalent in India, Especially in cities like Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai, In Mumbai (Formerly called Bombay) buildings like Municipal Corporation Building, Bombay University, Bombay High Court, Asiatic Society of Mumbai Building (Former Town Hall) and the David Sasoon Library are some example of Victorian Architecture in Mumbai. In Kolkata (Formerly called Calcutta) buildings like the Victoria Memorial, Calcutta High Court, St Paul's Cathedral, The Asiatic Society of Bengal are some examples of Victorian Architecture in Kolkata. In Chennai (Formerly called Madras) some examples include Madras High court, State Bank of Madras and St. Mary’s Church.
Efforts to preserve landmarks of Victorian architecture are ongoing and are often led by the Victorian Society. A recent campaign the group has taken on is the preservation of Victorian gasometers after utility companies announced plans to demolish nearly 200 of the now-outdated structures.
References and sourcesEdit
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- ^ "Cape May Historic District". National Park Service. Retrieved 27 February 2021.
- ^ Lewis 1975.
- ^ "Saitta House - Report Part 1 Archived 2008-12-16 at the Wayback Machine",DykerHeightsCivicAssociation.com
- ^ "Gingerbread Trim: Feast your eyes on these ornate Victorian-era embellishments". This Old House. 2 February 2007. Retrieved 12 January 2020.
- ^ "Eldridge Johnson House, 33 Perry Street (moved from 225 Congress Street), Cape May, Cape May County, NJ". Historic American Buildings Survey (Library of Congress). Retrieved 12 January 2020.
- ^ Christopher Thomas (2015) "Canadian Architecture: 1867-1914". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 11 April 2022
- ^ "British India and Victorian-Era Architecture". victorianweb.org. Retrieved 2022-07-15.
- ^ Sean O'Hagan, Gasworks wonders… Archived 23 September 2016 at the Wayback Machine, The Guardian, 14 June 2015.
- Apperly, Richard; Irving, Robert; Reynolds, Peter L. (1994). A Pictorial Guide to Identifying Australian Architecture: Styles and Terms from 1788 to the Present. Angus & Robertson. ISBN 978-0-207-18562-5.
- Dixon, Roger; Muthesius, Stefan (1978). Victorian Architecture: With a Short Dictionary of Architects and 251 Illustrations. Thames and Hudson. ISBN 978-0-500-18163-8.
- Lewis, Arnold (1975). American Victorian architecture: a survey of the 70's and 80's in contemporary photographs. Dover Publications. ISBN 978-0-486-23177-8.
- Prentice, Helaine K. (1986). Rehab Right. Ten Speed Press. ISBN 978-0-89815-172-5., includes descriptions of different Victorian and early-20th-century architectural styles common in the San Francisco Bay Area, particularly Oakland, and detailed instructions for repair and restoration of details common to older house styles.
- Decorative Hardware of the Victorian Era: An American. Perspective, Raheel Ahmad
- History and Style of Victorian Architecture and Hardware
- Manchester, a Victorian City
- Photographs of Victorian Homes in Hamilton, Ontario Canada
- Victorian era architecture in San Francisco, California
- Victorian era architecture and history in Buffalo, New York
- Architectural influences on Victorian style
- Victorian churches blog