Victorian Revivals


History of Design and Architecture from the 19th Century

Chapter 6- Gothic Revival  1830-1880

Gothic architecture reflects a period in which religion was extremely important.  It seeks awe and inspires people.  Physical elements include pointed arches, ribbed vaults, and stain glass.  In the 1850’s, the views and writings of John Ruskin (an art historian and art critic) created the theoretical basis for High Victorian Gothic.  Ruskin was mostly interested in the loveliness created by surface decoration and colorful building materials.

Design Characteristics:  Attributes such as verticality, and details like pointed arches characterize gothic revival buildings,  The expression is visually complex, asymmetrical, irregular, linear, thin, and light in scale.  Towards the end of the Gothic Revival period the scale becomes slightly heavier.  Furniture starts having colorful inlays, tiles, or paint.  Motifs include  pointed arches, pinnacles battlements, crockets, stained glass, tracery, rose windows, oak leaves, and heraldic devices.

Architecture:  Early and picturesque gothic revival were set in irregular and contrasting landscapes.  The few homes build were those of wealthy antiquarians who wish to make a particular design statement about themselves or proclaim a religious heritage.  The mid gothic revival period built many churches, commercial buildings, and government buildings.    The later part of the gothic revival period is when bold geometric forms, simpler outlines, and influences from italian, french, german, and other medieval styles were characterized.

All Saints Church; London, England – William Butterfield

Early Gothic Revival

Trinity Church; New York, NY – Richard Upjohn

House of Parliament; London England – Charles Barry & Augustus Pugin

Interiors: Characteristics include verticality, asymmetry, pointed arches, deep moldings, etc.  Motifs are arranged in a classical fashion with rococo influences.  Some interiors have medical prototypes.  Wood paneling is popular as well.  Interiors are very colorful, but may have simple wallpaper.

Wall Covering

Furnishings and Decorative Arts:


History of Design and Architecture from the 19th Century

Chapter 7- Italianate Renaissance Revival  1830-1870

Various titles describe this style

  • Italianate
  • Renaissance Revival
  • Palazzo Style
  • Italian Villa Style

Two Main Types of Architecture

1) Formal, Classical

2) Picturesque, asymmetrical

Interiors are eclectic, designers like to mix pieces from numerous periods

Concept: Offers new inspiration for designers who are sick of the neoclassical style.  Designers are not interested in order, harmony, proportions, etc.  Instead they like refinement, wealth, and luxury.

Characteristics: Designers adapt and reuse forms and motifs, but do not replicate them.  Instead the create something new and unique to the period.  Certain characteristics from this period include arched doors, warm rich colors, heavy fabrics and textures, and asymmetrical balance.


Reform Club; London, England – Charles Barry


Smooth Walls

Piano Nobile (2nd floor)


Entry door framed with classical details

Classic balustrade

Morse-Libby House; Portland, Maine – Henry Austin


Projecting roof




Smooth Walls

Arched windows and over the door

Interiors: Designers used bold architectural details, rich colors, a lot of texture, and overall had an eclectic feel

Floor Tile Designs

Reform Club- Upstairs Interior Hall

Detailed Ceiling

Furniture and Decorative Arts:


History of Interior Design and Architecture from the 19th Century

Chapter 8 – Second Empire, Rococo Revival, 1845-1885

Concepts: Developed in France, Second Empire is an international architecture style characterized by a mansard roof, pavilions, and bold details.  The style carries associations of elegance, sophistication, and cosmopolitanism.  Rococo revival is based on the rococo style (duh) but it’s less complex and decorative.  The industrial revolution makes machine made goods more popular and in demand for this time era.

Design Characteristics:  Past styles inspire Second Empire and Rococo Revival.  They adopt a boldm three dimentional classicism along with elements of French Renaissance.  Motifs and common characteristics include columns, swags, cartouches, pediments, relief sculptures, C and S scrolls, female masks, vines, shells, grapesm roses, flowers, leaves, acorns, nuts, birds, mansard roofs, and pavilions.

Architecture:  Unlike any other 19th century revival style, Second Empire and Rococo Revival reftect very contempory architectural developments.  Materials used include stone, granite, marble, brownstone, brick, and iron details.

New Louvre; Paris, France 1852 – Visconti and Lefuel

  • Rounded Pediments with relief sculpture over dormer window
  • Mansard roof
  • pediment
  • arched windows
  • paired columns
  • string course
  • projecting cornice
  • quoins define corners
  • arched lower story
  • corner pavilion

Paris Opera House; Paris, France 1862 – Garnier   Second Empire

Interiors:  True Interiors of this era are those created for Napoleon III in the Louvre and Tuileries.  They are opulent, showy, and in keeping with the majestic image.  The rooms typically mix old antiques with new furniture for an eclectic look.  Many interiors feather bold classic details, prominent chimney pieces, and rich colors, reguardless of the architectural style.


Furniture and Decorative Arts:

Parlor Armchair-Rococo Revival


History of Interior Design and Architecture from the 19th Century

Chapter 9 – Exoticism  1830s-1920’s

Concepts:  Eclecticism encourages the exploration and appreciation of architecture and decorative arts of other cultures.  Exotic styles are mainly from the Egyptian and Islamic cultures.  Fascination with non-western cultures gives rise to the exotic styles.

Design Characteristics:  There were many different exotic revivals including Egyptian Revival, Islamic Revival, Turkish Revival, and Indian Revival.  The forms and motifs of the cultures defined the specific style.

Egyptian Revival Style

  • monumentality
  • simplicity
  • column forms
  • battered sides
  • egyptian styles are applied to contemporary forms  

Turkish, Arab, and Indian Style

  • complex and layered ornamentation
  • reinterpreting ancient forms
  • smoking rooms
  • middle eastern furniture and rugs

Egyptian Motifs

  • geometric forms
  • columns
  • real and fake hieroglyphs
  • gods and goddesses
  • lotus
  • papyrus
  • crocodiles
  • cobras
  • sun disks

Turkish, Arab, and Indian Motifs

  • onion domes
  • minarets
  • lattice
  • horseshoe arches
  • multifoil arches
  • ogee arches
  • peacocks
  • carnations
  • flat/intricate patterns

Architecture:  Examples of exoticism in architecture are hard to find, they’re fairly uncommon when compared to other styles.  It’s rare in residential, the exotic style architecture mainly applies to public buildings.  Symbolism through motifs and form is important in design context and building characteristic.

Philadelphia County Prison, 1836 – Thomas Walter   Egyptian Revival

Corn Palace;  Mitchell, South Dakota – 1921 – Rapp and Rapp   Exotic Revival

Interiors:  Exotic interiors are often the more eclectic, combining architectural details, motifs, furniture, or decorative arts of several cultures and styles.  There is little or no relationship between exterior style and interior character.  Room associations are more likely to influence style choices.  Arches, pilasters, and paneling divide spaces.

Ada Theater, 1926 – Boise, Idaho; Frederick Hummel   Egyptian Revival

Stair Hall, Olana – Hudson, NY  Exotic Revival


Furnishings and Decorative Arts: Motifs and copies of ancient pieces is what deliberates the exotic style.  Egyptian motifs appear in French Empire, Regency, Biedermier, Directiore, German Greek Revival, British Greek Revival, Italianate, Renaissance Revival, ect.  Most Turkish style furnishings were imported to England and North America.


History of Interior Design and Architecture from the 19th Century

Chapter 10 – Stick Style, Queen Anne  1860s-1910s


Concept:  Unique to America, the stick style in architecture reinterpretations medieval half timber buildings and the new balloon framing construction method.  Queen Anne originates in England as an attempt to create an image of home, tradition, and middle-class comfort.  Neither Stick nor Queen Anne styles have a corresponding interior or furniture style.


Design Characteristics:  Stick style pulls influences from the picturesque movement, historicism, and Gothic revival theories.  Queen Anne includes characteristics from English vernacular, Elizabethan, Tudor, and Japanese styles.  Characteristics include broken pediments, swags, and ceiling medallions.

Architecture:  Stick style is primarily residential and emerges on the east coast if the United States.  Queen Anne doesn’t have a strong theoretical base, but adopts the irregularity, open planning, truth in construction, and honesty of material of Gothic Revival without it’s moral or religions overtones.  Characteristics include gazebos, sash windows, cupolas, shutters, gales, pediments, white trim, and a homey, friendly appearance.

women’s pavillion New Jersey State Building, 1876  Stick Style

hotel de coronado – 1886, CA –  Queen Anne

griswold house, 1862 – Stick Style

Interiors: Stick Style interiors have characteristics such as dark brown wood against white walls, half-timbering, wood bracing, decorative Gothic inspired carvings, and much more.  Queen Anne style follows revival styles of the past.  Each room was depicted-ed with different styles including Jacobean and adamesque.

Stick Style

Stick Style

Queen Anne

Queen Anne

Furniture and Decorative Arts:  As i stated before, nothing new is going on in the interiors and in the furniture of this style.  As a result, eclecticism rules.  Various styles are mixed together.

Mail Order Furniture


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