Victorian style, in British and American architecture, an eclectic mode based on the revival of older styles, often in new combinations. Although the style is named after the reign (1837–1901) of Queen Victoria, it was her husband Prince Albert who was the actual promoter of taste. Because of its nationalist associations, the Gothic revival style (see Gothic revival) was favored for churches, universities, and public buildings in England, exemplified by Charles Barry and A. W. N. Pugin's Houses of Parliament (1837–67). The writings of John Ruskin influenced a shift in taste from the Perpendicular English Gothic to the polychromy of Italian Gothic. Classicism in its numerous historical forms remained a viable alternative, and other styles that were revived included the Byzantine and the Romanesque. New materials, such as iron and glass, were often incorporated into the design of buildings during the Victorian period, but they were often hidden. In domestic architecture, the Arts and Crafts revival, based on the writings and decorative designs of William Morris, synthesized aspects of Queen Anne, Tudor, and English vernacular design. The Victorian style is used to describe any of a number of analogous historical revivals in the United States in the second half of the 19th cent.
See H. R. Hitchcock, Early Victorian Architecture in Britain (1954, repr. 1972); J. Gloag, Victorian Comfort (1961); R. Dutton, The Victorian Home (1964); R. Dixon and S. Muthesius, Victorian Architecture (1978).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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