From Library Journal
Beautifully photographed throughout, this delightful and informative reference work highlights notable persons, objects, inventions, and cultural icons that were emulated around the world during the Victorian era. Contributors to Victorian Homes magazine, Ruhling and Freeman excite the reader with numerous facts and details of architectural features (e.g., pocket doors), furniture and decorative items (e.g., tete-a-tetes), clothing and personal items (e.g., corsets), traditions (e.g., parlor games), movements and styles (e.g., the arts and crafts movement), and much more. Placed in historical perspective, each entry provides basic information and clarifies the item's relationship to other items or influences. Given the growing popularity of Victorian decorating, this book will be a valuable addition to public libraries.Stephen Allan Patrick, East Tennessee State Univ. Lib., Johnson City
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Described in the introduction as "comprehensive, but by no means complete," this encyclopedia provides an introduction into the social history of an era. Ruhling is a freelance writer for various publications, including Victorian Homes
, specializing in antiques and historical preservation. Freeman is the author of Victorian Entertaining
(Running Press, 1989) and a contributing editor for Victorian Homes
The Victorian era's passion for color and exuberant decorating are showcased in more than 210 color photographs of nineteenth-century homes, household objects, and period ephemera along with brief descriptions, discussions of historical perspective, and notes on cultural attitudes. Alphabetically arranged, approximately two to four entries appear on each page. Illustrations do not accompany each entry; none exist for Lambrequin, Bog Oak Jewelry, Sewing Bird, Chiffonier, or many others. However, the entry Tender Bulbs and Tubers is illustrated by a full page of gladiolus, Books by a full-page photograph of two books and some dried flowers, and Hardy Bulbs and Roses with lovely photographs accompanying each. A three-page bibliography and an index that brings together related entries complete the work.
In The Encyclopedia of Victoriana, edited by Harriet Bridgeman and Elizabeth Drury (Macmillan, 1975), noted authorities contributed chapters on categories of antiques from the era. That more comprehensive and scholarly treatment provides a history of the decorative arts in Britain and America with mostly black-and-white illustrations. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Victoriana is colorful and manages to give beginners to Victoriana a peek into the past, but it is more appropriate for the circulating collection.