With an empire that embraced a fifth of the earth's land surface and a quarter of its people, Britain was the workshop of the world.
London was rivalled only by Paris as a focus for international interest in design and the decorative arts and British products could be found across the globe.
Victorian self-confidence seemed boundless, but optimism about the human capacity to transform the material world was matched by a spiritual disquiet that found powerful expression in design and the decorative arts.
Victorians despaired at the endless tide of new things that surged forth from factory and workshop, they agonized about the way those things looked and they were disturbed by the degraded conditions endured by the workers who made them.
Yet in their efforts to confront these problems, they produced some the masterpieces of Victorian design.
Lavishly illustrated and unmatched in its coverage, this book explores design and the decorative arts from a number of points of view.
It assesses their place in the wider history of Victorian Britain.
It examines style, the question of how things looked.
It asks who led taste, who decided what was to be considered beautiful, fashionable and desirable.
It looks at how fashionable things - from houses to clothing - were used.
It asks what was new, examining new products and innovations in the ways they were made.
Together, the chapters provide an indispensable resource for the study of design and the decorative arts in Victorian Britain.
- Format: Paperback / softback
- Pages: 168 pages
- Publisher: V & A Publishing
- Publication Date: 07/06/2004
- Category: History of art & design styles: c 1800 to c 1900
- ISBN: 9781851774227