Find hundreds of pictures of Victorian houses, both interior and exterior in this Victorian house photo gallery.
The term Victorian in relation to domestic architecture is an adjective given to a movement of style covering a wide range of highly decorative domestic building types which range from as early as the 1840s to approximately 1900. Victorian house pictures highlight the exquisitely detailed, exceptionally beautiful designs for a great variety of fascinating city dwellings, spacious suburban and country homes and charming cottages.
During the 19th century there were many distinctive styles of actual Victorian homes, ranging from seaside cottages to Italianate villas, Queen Anne cottages to romantic stone castles, brownstones, octagon houses, and mansard-roofed mansions. The features of Victorian house architecture were more
eclectic and diverse in nature as opposed to owning rigid and exclusive characteristics. The period of time between the end of the Civil War and the turn-of-the-century was marked by a curious combination of post-war depression and the opulence of the Gilded Age.
There is no single set of features which specifically define the Victorian house. Pictures of Victorian houses illustrate the endless combinations of structural characteristics and the wide scope of Victorian architecture in American residences. Labels such as Queen Anne, Italianate or Eastlake are terms which refer to the use of certain decorative elements but they do not indicate specific architectural features which must be always present to designate a house as being a certain Victorian style. Architects more or less combined a variety of miscellaneous designs to satisfy the client’s taste.
Victorian houses in America generally exhibited irregular floor plans, turrets, towers, gables, multicolored slate roof tiles, and mansard roofs. Victorian houses are often a spectacular display of
porches, overhangs, bay windows, balconies, turrets, stained glass and picturesque dormers. Victorian house pictures can illustrate the structural characteristics and scope of Victorian architecture in American residences.
Victorian style houses never presented a clear-cut single pattern like the Colonial Cape Cod or the Greek Revival. Instead it was an animated mix of several styles blended into something distinctively American. Victorian style houses included the American Gothic with peaked gables, turrets and an abundance of carving; the French Renaissance with mansard roofs and colored stonework; and the English Tudor, with its casement windows and half-timbered walls covered with stucco or shingles.
The Philadelphia Centennial in 1876 popularized a revival of the architecture of the 17th and 18th century Europe, but not in the form of the salt box or Cape Cod cottage. Instead there were houses designed in an English picturesque transition style life the popular Italian villa or mansard styles. It was half Gothic and half classic, appearing without a plan as manor houses grew, addition by addition, in a picturesque disarray.
The earliest Victorian style of houses was the Gothic Revival (1840-1865). It particularly flourished in the North from the 1850s to the 1880s due to profits from the expansion of the railroads in the West and new factories in the North. This economic boom provided the wealth to build them. But while the money was American, the designs were foreign adaptations. Americans touring Europe came home anxious to reproduce the picturesque medieval castles and cathedrals or charming English and German cottages. Piazzas, bays, stained glass windows, mansard roofs, and porte-cocheres became the rage. Medieval motifs such as Gothic crosses and trefoils were often cut into the structure’s woodwork. Undoubtedly many thought the Victorian houses were unsightly with their steeply pitched roofs and pointed-arch windows; but at their worst they were spacious and at their best they provided a gracious way of living.