From Library Journal
Stephen Allan Patrick, East Tennessee State Univ. Lib., Johnson City
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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.