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The Victorian Era

The era is named after Queen Victoria of England

The Victorian era was the period of Queen Victorias reign from 20 June 1837 until her death, 22
January 1901. It was a l period of peace, prosperity, refned sensibilities and national self-conf-
dence for Britain.
The era was preceded by the Georgian period and followed by the Edwardian period. The later half
of the Victorian age roughly coincided with the frst portion of the Belle poque era of continental
Europe and the Gilded Age of the United States.
The Industrial Revolution (1700-1900)
The Victorian period was also the period of the Industrial revolution. This revolution included going
from hand production methods to machines, new chemical manufacturing and iron production pro-
cesses, the increasing use of steam power, and the development of machine tools. It also included
the change from wood and other bio-fuels to coal.
Energy was a major impetus for this conversion from an agricultural society to an industrial one.
James Watt perfected the steam engine in 1775. The introduction of steam powered machinery
opened the door to dramatic increases in production, and in the manufacture of more machines.
Advances in agricultural techniques and practices resulting in an increased supply of food and raw
The building of roads, canals, and eventually railways enabled expanded trade.
Many of these conditions were so closely interrelated that increased activity in one spurred an in-
crease in activity in another.
Along with technological breakthroughs, the Industrial Revolution brought crime, urban poverty, and
the rise of a self-indulgent nouveau riche (newly rich) class. Wealth became a motivating cultural
force. As the desire for unlimited comfort spread from the wealthy to the new middle class, a taste
for ornamentation and ostentation became the dominant style.
Extravagant embellishment was applied to architecture, furniture, clothing, and appeared as elab-
orate borders and lettering in graphic design. Sentimentality, nostalgia, and idealized beauty were
expressed through printed images of young women, fowers, children, and puppies and kittens.
The invention of Lithography
Lithographic printing was developed in Germany in 1796 by Alois Senefelder, who searched for a
faster/better way to duplicate sheet music. Lithography is a printing technique that allows multiple
reproductions of an image drawn with greasy crayon on a certain type of limestone. When the nat-
urally absorbant stone is wetted before printing, the printing ink will be retained in areas containing
grease and repelled in all other areas. The characteristic of this printing technique lies in the fact
that the image area and the non-image area react diferently to the presence of ink.
Lithography joined the older techniques of relief and intaglio printing and greatly expanded the
range of what could be printed.
The frst World Expo
In 1851 the best-known frst World Expo was held in The Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London,
under the title Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations.
The Great Exhibition, as it is often called, was an idea of Prince Albert, Queen Victorias husband,
and is usually considered as the frst international exhibition of manufactured products.
It infuenced the development of several aspects of society, including art-and-design education,
international trade and relations, and tourism.
One of the technologies exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851 was the new method of color
printing: chromolithography.
Although lithography had become widespread, it was initially a single-color printing method.
Early experiments with color lithography were perfected in 1837 when a French printer patented a
process named chromolithography.
After analyzing the colors contained within the original subject, the printer separated them into a
series of printing plates and printed these component colors one by one.
Many images required fve, ten, twenty, or even more colors. Colored inks applied to these stones
came together in perfect registration, recreating hundreds or thousands of glowing duplicates of the
original. The lithography frm, rather than the individual artists or craftsmen was credited on chro-
molithographs, and the names of many of those artists are lost to history.
The arrival of color printing had vast social and economic ramifcations.
Lithography set type and layout free.
Fist steam powerd press
In 1812 Koenig invents, the frst high-speed printing press, which he built together with watchmaker
Andreas Friedrich Bauer.
Still today Koenig & Bauer AG (KBA) (FWB: SKB) makes printing presses based in Wrzburg.
It was founded by Friedrich Koenig and Andreas Friedrich Bauer in Wrzburg in 1817, making it the
oldest printing press manufacturer in the world.
95% of the banknotes used in the world are printed on printers made by a division of KBA.
This lead to advertising graphics and Magazines
Admirers of fne typography were appalled that the design was done on the artists drawing board
without training in printing and type traditions, designers could invent any letterform that suited their
fancy. Closely bound to the growth of magazines was the development of advertising agencies. The
frst true ad agency opened in 1841 in Philadelphia. The surpluses of goods created by the Industri-
al Revolution led to increased competition in the marketplace, as sellers sought to educate buyers
to the virtues of products and services.
To this end, advancements in the simultaneous printing of text and image fostered the new medium
called advertising.
The New Monthly Magazine Punch opened the era of the magazine when they began publication
It was a British weekly magazine of humour and satire
Established in 1841 by Henry Mayhew and engraver Ebenezer Landells
Historically, it was most infuential cause it helped to coin the term cartoon in its modern sense
as a humorous illustration. The rising tide of literacy, plunging production costs, and the growth of
advertising revenues pushed the number of newspapers and magazines published in the US from
800 to 5,000 between 1830 and 1860.
Victorian Typography
Victorian commercial printed matter was characterized by the eras pervasive ornamentation and
careless craftsmanship. If a compositor lacked a lower-case g, for example, he would not hesitate
to use an upside-down b in its place.
Sometimes however, a merchants demand for distinctive announcements did result in truly original
display faces, composed of odd, and even ingenious woodblock letters.
Designers of new display faces distorted the Bodoni and Dido types, making them larger and black-
er. These type designs, called Fat Face, are now recognized as quintessentially Victorian.
Wood engravers followed the taste for ornate elaboration and applied shadows, outlines, and
embellishments to letterforms. The Egyptian faces joined the Fat Faces as one of the most original
typographic forms of the century.
The distinctive Victorian style of layout extreme variations of type size and weight crammed within
the page format was an invention of expedience, allowing the printer to utilize every inch of precious
Chromolithography with its hand-drawn lettering, was a major source of inspiration and competition
for type foundries and letterpress printers.
Mergenthaler invents the Linotype machine
Setting type by hand and then redistributing it into the job case remained a slow and costly pro-
cess. By the middle of the nineteenth century, presses could produce twenty- fve thousand copies
per hour, but each letter in every word in every book, newspaper, and magazine had to be set by
hand. Dozens of experimenters worked to perfect a machine to compose type, and the frst patent
for a composing machine was registered in 1825.
By the time Ottmar Mergenthaler perfected his Linotype machine in 1886, about three hundred
automatic typesetting machines had been invented that tried various methods. Mergenthalers
breakthrough involved the use of small brass matrixes. Each time the operator pressed a key on a
keyboard, a matrix for that character was released from a tube, it slid down a chute and was auto-
matically lined up with the other characters in that line.
Molten lead was poured into the line of matrixes to cast a line of type. This technology facilitated
the explosion in the amount of printed material.
Photography, a new tool for communication
Photography and graphic communications have been closely linked beginning with the frst exper-
iments to capture an image of nature with a camera. The Frenchman who frst produced a photo-
graphic image (1826 Joseph Niepce) was a lithographic printer.
He began his research into photography by seeking an automatic means of transferring drawings
onto printing plates.
In partnership, with Nipce, Louis Daguerre refned the early photographic process.
In 1839 Daguerre announced that he had invented a process called the Daguerreotype.
The Daguerreotype was very popular during the Victorian age and created a demand that added to
the push for the development of photography. Throughout the 1800s, experiments in photographic
technology continued to improve until towards the end of the century it fnally became possible to
merge photographic processes with printing.
In 1880, the New York Daily Graphic printed the frst reproduction of a photograph ( building of
Steinway Hall on East 14th Street in Manhattan ) with a full tonal range in a newspaper.
The screen broke the image into a series of minute dots whose varying sizes created tonal values
from pure white paper to solid black ink.
Victorian Style and Architecture
The Victorian years, which lasted for most of the 19th century, divides into several periods.
The period is actually a revival of medieval styles, neo classism, neo renaissance, neo gothic and
arts and crafts or in all aspects of architecture and design. Maiking it rich in ornamentation and
Infuences of Victorian style today
Brands like Desigual and Flow magazine get their inspiration from the Victorian era
Victorian Period - Algemeen, afbeeldingen en uitleg uit de les / James Whistler? / Charles Barry? / Walter Sickert? /
Frank Holl? / Charles Eastlake? / Augustus Pugin?