Architectural Styles of Period Fireplaces

Fireplaces can either be contemporary or they can reflect a particular historical period. Contemporary fireplaces are in tune with the times we live in. They can look stunning in a period home.

Historical periods include Tudor, Queen Anne, Georgian, Regency, Victorian and French. We hope that the following brief guide to architectural styles will help you to choose the right fireplace for your home.

Tudor

The Tudor period was between 1485 and 1603. With the widespread use of coal as a fuel, it heralded the arrival of the chimney stack. Chimney pieces were large and elaborate. Fireplaces were installed upstairs as well as on the ground floor. The Tudors followed the perpendicular style and in fireplace design, expect to find elegant lines and foliage motifs. Oak panelling was popular and often extended from floor to ceiling.

Queen Anne

A Baroque style was popular during the reign of Queen Anne, between 1702 and 1714. In practice, it was an eclectic style incorporating classical, Flemish and French Renaissance influences. Carved ornamentation and patterned horizontal sidings were a feature, as were tall ornamental chimneys.

Georgian

The Georgian architectural period was between 1720 and 1840. The principle Georgian styles were Palladian and its whimsical alternatives, Gothic and Chinoiserie. Georgian houses had chimneys on both sides of the home. The Palladian characteristics comprised grace, understated decorative elements and use of classical themes. One of the most well-known architects of this period was Robert Adam who designed the interiors of a great many country houses. His fireplaces are synonymous with Georgian style.

Regency

The Regency period lasted from 1811 to 1820, although sometimes the ‘Regency era’ refers to a longer period (the mid 1790s to 1837). There were two major styles which were popular during the Regency period. The first was a medieval revival. Often termed Victorian Gothic, it was popular well into the Victorian period. This style was based on medieval architecture especially Gothic churches of the late 13th and early 14th centuries. Architects emulated Gothic tracery and other decorative elements of the Gothic period.

The second was classical in nature. Restrained simplicity and imitation of traditional Greek and Roman architecture were used. For example, fluted Greek columns and painted and carefully moulded cornices. The theme was refined elegance.

Victorian

The Victorian era spanned 1837 to 1901. Nostalgia was the keynote. Both watered-down Regency classicalism and the Greek revival continued after Queen Victoria ascended the throne.

The Gothic revival was popular and was a reaction to the classical style of the previous century. The Victorian era saw a return to the traditional styles of building, with Mock Gothic being particularly popular. The Gothic revival was a romantic yearning for the traditional, comforting past.

The two other styles popular during this period were Extravagant and Simple. The early Victorians favoured elaborate details and decoration. Later, the pendulum swung back to a simple, farmhouse style.

French

The history of French architecture runs parallel with its neighbours in Europe. Styles include Roman, Pre-Romanesque, Romanesque, Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo and Neo Classicalism. Designs were influenced by the reign of Louis XVI and featured sensuous curves and elaborate detailing.

Conclusion

Having a beautiful fireplace in your home provides a central talking point. A little knowledge of the history can help the conversation!

London, England – Apsley House

Apsley House (Wellington Museum) offers a glimpse into early 19th century London in more ways than one. A rare preserved example of an English aristocrats town house of that period, it was the home of one of Britain’s most extraordinary men: an outstanding soldier and statesman, the 1st Duke of Wellington (1769-18520).

Designed and built by Robert Adam in the 1770s for the then Lord Chancellor, Lord Apsley, the property was then bought by the 1st Marques of Wellesley. In 1817 he sold it to the younger brother. Wellington who became Prime Minister in 1828 and is best known for his defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo.

Originally red brick the Wellesley family twice extended the house and encased it in golden Bath stone. Like the imposing Corinthian portico, many rooms were redesigned to reflect Wellingtons rising status. The regency interiors provided the backdrop for entertaining, especially the annual Waterloo banquets.

Paintings by Goya, Velazquez and Rubens, among others, are hung throughout the first floor. A huge nude statue of Napoleon by Canova dominates the stairwell at the center of the house. The magnificent Wellington Shield, demonstrates Britain’s craftsmanship. Balconies near the top give glorious views over London’s royal parks and the Houses of Parliament.

If you have an afternoon to spare and find yourself in the great city of London, England, make sure to visit the history and story laden tourist attraction known as the Apsley House. It is sure to leave a lasting impression even on the most traveled of people.

Evolution of Crystal Chandelier Lighting

Crystal chandeliers establish atmosphere in building interiors. This fact holds true today as it did a thousand years ago. People started ornamenting their light sources with crystals from very early on. Initially, crystals are installed on lighting elements for primarily practical reasons. Crystals possess a high degree of reflection and refraction, which gave them a high optical capability of scattering light to a wider area inside a room. But it did not take long before crystals had evolved into an essential ornamental component–the birth of crystal chandeliers. Each historical era has contributed a unique rationale or perspective behind the design concepts of the crystal chandeliers that we witness today. Chinese culture was perhaps one of the oldest, if not the oldest, in human history. Crystal chandelier designs in this era are classified as “Oriental style.” Original forms of this style of crystal chandeliers can be traced back to the year 1150 A.D., which provided a large intensity of inspiration to European designers. An Oriental style chandelier is characterized by flamboyant built lavished with extravagant fringes.

The Renaissance era contributed the “rebirth” of ancient Roman architectural concepts, which sprouted from Florence in Italy in 1400’s. Notable examples of Renaissance crystal chandeliers can be seen today at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome and the Doges’ palace in Venice. Original renaissance-style chandelier designs initiated the use of “crystal candles with replicas of buds and curving arms.”

The year 1600 marked the beginning of the Baroque era. Famous painters that emerged during the Baroque period include Rubens and Rembrandt. Baroque architecture is distinctively expansive, attempting to open up space to infinity. The Baroque designs are derived from the richness that flourished during the Baroque epoch. These expansive ephemeral concepts developed during the Baroque resonate through time and is probably the reason that it still has a commanding influence on modern day designs of crystal chandeliers and lighting fixtures.

The Regency epoch is the name given to a brief period between 1800 and 1830 that witnessed the rise of the Bourgeoisie or the “middle class” in Europe. Regency chandeliers are exhibited in middle-class salons, demonstrating the power of the budding Bourgeoisie class. Regency chandelier designs feature ostentatious and massive, and fragile linear ensembles as well.

The Victorian epoch prospered in England from 1840 to 1870, a period when Europe was engaged in historicism. Victorian crystal chandeliers are characteristically heavy, and have illuminated the most magnificent houses of the world.

Developed in central Europe at the turn of the century, Art Nouveau produced the exhibition pavilion fro the Viennese Succession as well as the Metro entrances that align on underground passage to Paris. Art Nouveau crystal chandeliers are distinguished by the consistent use of floral ornaments.

The period of Modernism emphasize reason and abstraction as the primary values in Modern Art. The influence of this period is manifest in linear and functional architectural designs that persist until the present. Two of the founding institutions of Modernism, Gropius and Kandinsky, have established the prevalent concepts of today’s crystal chandelier designs.