Characteristics of Victorian era customs artistic manifestations

Victorian era

Period of maximum splendor of the United Kingdom of Great Britain. In this article we will provide you the  Characteristics of Victorian era.

The Victorian era was the period of greatest splendor of the United Kingdom of Great Britain . This spanned most of the 19th century and corresponds to the reign of Queen Victoria I , between 1837 and 1901 .

During the Victorian era, the United Kingdom became an economic powerhouse thanks to the impact of the Industrial Revolution . At the same time, as the leading state in the process of European imperialism , in a few years it became a global empire with colonies in America, Asia and Africa.

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Characteristics of the Victorian era

The main characteristics of the Victorian era were the following:

  • It was a period of change in the British economy and politics. These had a great impact on the society of the time, producing a particular culture. The Victorian era manifested itself in the customs, the literature, the fashion, the architecture, the family relations and the arts.
  • It was a mixed time when the general optimism mixed by the industrialization, the urbanization accelerated , the economic expansion and the preeminence of Britain in the world, with a certain nostalgia for the loss of traditions, rural depopulation and invasion technology over nature.
  • The contradictions of the time were reflected in what is known as “the Victorian double standard.” While social norms responded to a strict moral code based on the repression of sexuality, austerity and puritanical principles, the daily practices of the people were moving away from those values.
  • In politics, the participation bases were broadened by extending the voting rights of new sectors . However, women continued to be relegated, although it was during this time that the struggle for the recognition of this right began.
  • Based on industrial development, the British economy had enormous growth from the export of products manufactured in its industries, as well as financial services , transport and infrastructure. The other countries paid for these products with food and raw materials for factories. In this way, what is known as the “international division of labor” was established.
  • Victorian society was characterized by great differences between its social classes . This was made up of:
    • Aristocracy : being the owner of most of the land, it had a wide representation in the governing bodies and the greatest privileges.
    • Bourgeoisie : divided into the upper bourgeoisie and made up of large investors and industrialists who had become rich thanks to accelerated industrialization and the lower bourgeoisie. This was made up of hierarchical employees, civil servants, doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc.
    • Lower classes : made up of industrial workers, impoverished peasants, people who performed domestic service tasks, and so on. This group suffered from very poor living conditions with long working hours, unsanitary conditions, and poor access to housing.
  • For Victorian society, the family was the axis of life. From the upper classes to the middle classes, the family structure composed of father, mother and several children, like Queen Victoria’s own family, was the model to follow. Women were expected to be reserved and remain within the domestic space, taking care of household chores and childcare, while men increased the family patrimony.
  • Although women were relegated to the domestic sphere, some managed to stand out as leaders of workers’ struggles, writers, plastic artists, etc.

Victorian era customs

The most prominent customs of the Victorian era are as follows:

  • The use of the railroad became popular and spread throughout the territory. The British became very fond of travel. Even Queen Victoria used to travel by train, where she had luxuriously decorated private carriages.
  • The upper classes were very fond of the parties, the meetings, the social events , etc. It was customary to hold fancy dress parties with lavish costumes representing different characters.
  • Periodicals, such as magazines , became popular . Novels that were sold in chapters were also consumed. In many homes the family gathered together for the father to read aloud.
  • Among the publications of the time, the books dedicated to instructing women in their obligations stand out : manuals of domestic management, courtesy, correct behavior, etc.
  • Despite the formality of Victorian society, during this period games became very important , both for children and adults: brain teasers, magic, riddles, sports and all kinds of recreational activities.

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Artistic manifestations

Some of the artistic manifestations of the Victorian era were the following:

  • Faced with the serial production of identical industrial products, groups of artists emerged who sought to rescue artisan work. These groups, such as the Arts and Crafts movement or the Glasgow School , wanted to link art with crafts to produce unique objects. They tried to recover the medieval tradition of manual labor in which the worker’s relationship with what he produced was more direct and personal. They were the antecedents of later international movements, such as Art Deco , Bauhaus, and contemporary design.
  • The artistic styles in force during the Victorian era were Neoclassicism and Romanticism , although with their own characteristics. Architecture, for example, was characterized by recovering forms from the past, especially the Gothic style .
  • In painting and literature there were variants of romantic thought. They were revalued the medieval legends , the spiritual themes, the introspection of the artist , etc. Some artist groups, such as the Pre-Raphaelites, organized communities in which they sought to return to a primitive art form that left aside the materialism of Victorian society.

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