Victorian features in our houses

Victorian style at a glance

  • Gothic Revival architecture such as spires, buttresses, pointed arch door surrounds and windows and decorative ironwork
  • Medieval influences including fleurs de lys, heraldic motifs and quatrefoils
  • Rich dark colours such as ruby red, forest green, and dark blue
  • Mass produced wallpapers including flock and damask styles and large bold prints of flowers and foliage
  • Heavily carved, or plump, over-stuffed furniture, including button-back armchairs, sofas and ottomans
  • Patterned, encaustic floor tiles and stained or etched glass
  • Highly patterned fabrics or strongly-coloured velvets, festoon blinds and sumptuous window treatments
  • Ornate marble, slate or cast-iron fireplaces, inset with patterned tiles

Follow the Victorian trail

Keen to see this style in action? You can absorb the atmosphere of the Victorian style at the following places:

    Carlyles House, London

    This Chelsea home of Victorian writer Thomas Carlyle and his wife Jane has interiors typical of a19th-century townhouse, including a cosy parlour, drawing-room with its original upholstered furniture and the attic study with his manuscripts and personal possessions.

    Cragside, Northumberland

    Cragside was built in the ‘Old English’ style by leading architect Norman Shaw in the 1860s. Owned by Victorian inventor, Lord Armstrong, it was the first house in the world to be lit by electricity derived from water power on his estate. Known as ‘the wonder of its age’ it is still filled with its original ingenious gadgets and labour-saving devices.

    Hughenden Manor, Buckinghamshire

    The home of Victorian Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, it was remodelled in 1862 into a suitable country seat and was ‘Gothicised’ to include plaster vaults in the hall. The comfortable rooms with their Victorian decoration include the sitting-room, bedroom and study where he worked.

    Knightshayes Court, Devon

    The exuberant style of William Burges was significantly tamed by his client and so only some of his imaginative ideas remain. These include his stunning Library ceiling with gilded ‘jelly mould’ domes and the carved stonework in the main hall. His inventive scheme for a spectacular bedroom has also been recreated from his original designs.

    Lanhydrock, Cornwall

    A major fire in the 19th century enabled the Parker-Robartes family to rebuild Lanhydrock in the 1880s into a sumptuous Victorian home, complete with labyrinth of fascinating servants’ quarters, attic bedrooms and family rooms including billiard room, smoking room, ladies’ boudoir and drawing room.

    Red House, Bexleyheath

    The birthplace of the Arts and Crafts movement, it was architect Philip Webb’s first commission for his friend, William Morris. It includes numerous original features such as fixed furniture designed by Morris and Webb as well as wall paintings and stained glass by Edward Burne-Jones.

    Standen, West Sussex

    Philip Webb’s last commission, built for the Beale family in 1891, Standen is filled with William Morris wallpapers, ‘Morris and Co’ and other Arts and Crafts furniture, innovative light fittings by W.A.S. Benson and ceramics and accessories by William de Morgan. Some of the embroidered wall hangings were sewn by Margaret Beale and her daughters.

    Tyntesfield, Somerset

    One of the last surviving Victorian estates in the country, Tyntesfield is a masterpiece of Gothic Revival style, bristling with turrets, towers and ecclesiastical details including the extravagantly-designed chapel. Many of the original wallpapers, carpets, fabrics and furniture have survived, all carefully preserved by four generations of the Gibbs family.