Historical Periods Explained
Most historical periods have names and they help to describe an item by providing a context — it is like a code name that contains the useful meaning behind it. Say “it’s a Georgian table” and it will immediately suggest certain shapes and styles, even though the period lasted more than a century. Different countries and regions have different periods, often named after a monarch, political or social events. For example, French Belle Epoque ran in parallel with English Victorian and Edwardian periods.
These are some of the periods you will find on Lavish Shoestring.
Georgian — a long British period between 1714 and 1830, named after the kings George I, George II, George III and George IV. The term is useful when talking about the items from the period as it both describes the age (dates) and the style (the look). Georgian period is defined by a very pronounced Neoclassical style (influenced by ancient Greece and Rome) in architecture, furniture and smaller household products. As the period progresses, the style proportions and aesthetics change from robust to elegant and back.
Regency — a period between 1811-1820 when the British King George III was unfit to rule due to his ill health. His son, later King George IV, acted as the Prince Regent. The main reason Regency is used in describing a product is because it defines a very particular style — a refined Neoclassical style. So it is possible that if the product in our opinion dates to the 1810s but the style is pretty generic and is not representative of the period, we may prefer not to use the term Regency in the description.
Late Georgian — typically this term refers to the period from around 1800 to 1837. But technically it ends in 1830 with the rule of George IV. Although it is a name of a period, we often use it in order to help describe a style of an item. Late Georgian products are Neoclassical in style but of a much more robust appearance and chunky proportions, as opposed to the elegant Regency for example.
William IV — a short British period between 1830-1837, the rule of the King William IV. It’s name is significant for describing a style, as it implies a Neoclassical style with heavy proportions; one step before Victorian heavy opulence.
Victorian — a long period between 1837 and 1901 covering the reign of the British Queen Victoria. This was a period of industrial revolution and the beginning of mass production. We use Victorian to define an era, rather than a style, simply because that period had many different styles (for example Gothic Revival, Art Nouveau and more). High Victorian is a name of a style.
La Belle Epoque — literally means the Beautiful Era, it is primarily a period of a rather happy European history that lasted from the 1870s to WWI in 1914, a peaceful and prosperous period. Art and design flourished and so it covers several styles, the major are Aesthetic Movement and Art Nouveau or Jugendstil. Often the Belle Eopoque is also used as a style description on its own when talking about French and American flamboyant decor of the late 19th century — sensuous, opulent and rich design.
Edwardian — technically 1901 to 1910, a short ruling period of the King Edward VII, the eldest son of Queen Victoria. But very often the term Edwardian is used in a broader sense to define the fashion and the trends of the 1890s to 1910s. It is also used to convey the style of design and decoration. Edwardian style was very much a refined Neoclassical style.