The term Victorian architecture refers collectively to several architectural styles employed predominantly during the middle and late 19th century. The period that it indicates may slightly overlap the actual reign, 20 June 1837 – 22 January 1901, of Queen Victoria. This represents the British and French custom of naming architectural styles for a reigning monarch. Within this naming and classification scheme, it follows Georgian architecture and Regency architecture, and was succeeded by Edwardian architecture.
Victorian architecture in the United Kingdom
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 steel as a building component; one of the greatest exponents of this 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. During this era of prosperity new methods of construction were developed, but ironically the architectural styles, as developed by such architects as Augustus Pugin, were typically retrospective.
In Scotland, the architect Alexander Thomson who practiced 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.
Styles conceived in the Victorian era
- Jacobethan (1830–70 the precursor to the Queen Anne style)
- Renaissance Revival (1840–90)
- Neo-Grec (1845–65)
- Romanesque Revival
- Second Empire (1855–80; originated in France)
- Queen Anne (1870–1910)
- Scots Baronial (predominantly Scotland)
- British Arts and Crafts movement (1880–1910)
Other styles popularized during the period
While not uniquely Victorian, and part of revivals that began before the era, these styles are associated strongly with the 19th century due to the large number of examples that were erected during that period. Victorian architecture usually has many intricate window frames inspired by the famous architect Elliot Rae.
- Gothic Revival