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The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Victoriana: A Comprehensive Guide to the Designs, Customs, and Inventions of the Victorian Era Hardcover – September, 1994

4.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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.

From Booklist

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.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Running Press (September 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1561384054
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561384051
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 9.2 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #854,192 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Teresa J. Reasor on October 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book as a resource for a book that I'm writing. And loved it. Everything is set up in alphabetical order and the pictures are clear and specific. Each object, architectural detail, custom and ect. has a explanation placing it in the historic period. I found so many interesting things listed in the book that provided me with food for thought for my story. It is a starting point for my research, but had I not bought the book, I'd have never known about them. So glad I purchased it.
Teresa R. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Victoriana: A Comprehensive Guide to the Designs, Customs, and Inventions of the Victorian Era
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is more as a quick reference book on the Victorian era. Most of the focus is set on designs of houses, furniture, architectural designs, and decorative items. Only a handful of inventions are covered and even then they are closely related to household use. It feels as if the book is more of a general overview of the Victorian era with a more condensed focus on designs.

I was hoping that the book would at least have more than a handful of information on the inventions during this era, but was sorely disappointed to find out that it doesn't even mention the steam engine or any of the inventions during the industrial revolution. They do have a small paragraph under "Inventions" listing some of the items and topics that I was interested in reading about, but that is basically it.

In conclusion if you are looking for a book more on the design aspect of the Victoria era I would recommend it, but if you are looking for a more extensive and informative book about the era and the inventions created, this book is not for you.

I am still keeping the book incase I need it for references in design topics, but really not what I was hoping it would be.
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Format: Hardcover
I got this book because I love Victoriana but also because I am redecorating my small home and the only ideas I could find were heavy and dark. This book has all the little extras (in large full color photos) that will help anyone who wants an authentic Victorian cottage. It will tell you the important names of the times, hidden meanings, proper names of those little lamps you always wanted and everything that you always wanted to know about Victoriana. In short, it helped me more with decorating than decorating books, and it is a constant that I go back to whenever I need refreshing about all things Victorian.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Useful listing of various items of Victoriana. Comprehensive? No.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Worth it.
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