The reign of the English Queen Victoria (1819–1901) presided over a time of substantial growth of British industry, international economic and cultural expansion, a rise in the middle and merchant classes, levels of education, travel, and the development of mass manufactured furniture and textiles.

* In terms of architecture and decoration, the Victorian era encompasses a wide range of different styles, in part because it spanned so many years. A Victorian interior might reflect the new riches and exotic aesthetics, materials and techniques gained through the British Empire; nostalgia for the past; the advances in technology and mass production; a Gothic revival, or the Arts and Crafts movement back towards handcraft and medieval lore. It might be called eclectic.

*  Rooms were arranged to display ornaments–whether heirlooms or mementoes from travels, and walls increasingly decorated with paper rather than fabric or paint. Colour schemes were both rich and vibrant, subject to what was possible but constantly open and indeed looking out for every new colouration, technique and idea that came onto the scene.

* Thanks to the East India Trading Companies, an eclectic idea of decoration became ever more popular and sought after, as every piece of furnishing, from china to lamps, to side chests and tables, gained an Indian and Chinese [Africa, far east middle east…] influence. The continuing range of furnishing textiles to choose from, whether imported from the East or emulated at home, inspired elaborate window treatments and upholstery.

* Aside from some notable exceptions and a thread of rebellion which produced some timeless classics ( William Morris et al ) this period of excess lacks a degree of integrity and has gone down in history as over-blown, over-heavy, clumsy, over-stuffed and pompous–indeed, it is not a widely copied style.

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