Victorian Gothic (also known as the Gothic Revival or Neo-Gothic) furniture is characterized by pointed arches, intricate openwork carvings and details as well as vertical lengths and Christian-inspired architecture. This style emerged during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901) for which many styles arose during her time in power. However, the height of the Victorian Gothic revival in furniture encompassed the period between 1830 and 1860. During this time, there was much interest of the Victorian Gothic style in architecture and design.
With A.W.N. Pugin being one of the most influential of craftsmen of the period, who valued and appreciated the Gothic style of the medieval times, he sought to re-vamp and add new design features. Pugin observed that Gothic architecture was "pure, Christian architecture" and linked the Gothic style to being in line with true Christian style and construction. He even went so far as to say that pointed arches were created by the Catholic faith. Due to this, one of the most characteristic features of Victorian Gothic furniture is the spire, or pointed vertical style with narrow peaks intertwined with elaborate details and often Christian imagery or designs that were commonplace in church buildings, like painted decoration or stained-glass windows.
An example of modern day Victorian Gothic architecture can be seen in the new Houses of Parliament (designed in 1840) in London. It was designed by proponents of the Victorian Gothic aesthetic, Sir Charles Barry and A.W.N. Pugin. Much of this architectural style can be found in the furniture as well, like the chandeliers and seating. Features such as stained-glass, geometrical inlay and floral motifs are signature features found in chairs, tables, windows and cabinets of the period. It is a style that is Christian-inspired, warm yet toweringly tall and vertical. Much focus was placed on vertical lengths as opposed to the horizontal space of previous medieval Gothic styles.
Embellished, carved-out surfaces – often from rosewood is another distinctive feature of Neo-Gothic furniture. The style has done much to influence the perception of Gothic style today, with things like ribbed arches, narrow but tall designs and exquisite floral borders. It is an amalgamation of intimidation and beauty at the same time. Therefore, the Victorian Gothic Interior style is the ideal one to showcase some of the traditional and essential aspects of the Gothic aesthetic
All in all, Victorian Gothic furniture can be characterized by grand scale designs that have pointed peaks. Intricate open carved wood work with elaborate often floral or Christian church-based imagery and ribbed arches. The style was most popular during the early and middle years of Queen Victoria’s reign. It set the standard for the interest and fascination of Gothic architecture today, and is still a popular style that is much sought after.