Reclaimed Victorian fireplaces are originally from the Victorian era in English history. This time period lasts from 1837 to 1901 and follows the reign of Queen Victoria, who had the longest reign in the history of this country. In architecture at this time, Gothic and Classical styles were locked in battle, so reclaimed Victorian fireplaces tend to have either a Gothic look or a Classical look, depending on the designer who originally created it. Later during this period, vernacular architecture became very popular.
If you are interested in reclaimed Victorian fireplaces with a Gothic feel, envision a style that is reminiscent of Notre Dame Cathedral, which is probably the most famous Gothic building in Europe, of not in the entire world. Gothic style reclaimed Victorian fireplaces usually have ornate carvings and decorations along the mantel and sometimes even into the sides of the fireplace. They come in a range of colours, and once restored, the wood, marble, or other materials will shine in their original glory.
On the other hand, you can also look for Classical style reclaimed Victorian fireplaces. These will have a more structural look, and sometimes include columns. Envision Greek or Roman ruins, and you’ll have an idea of what a Classical reclaimed Victorian fireplace will look like. There are three classical orders–Doric, Corinthian, and Ionic, and your fireplace could be one of these orders or a mix of all three, as was often the case in revival work.
Reclaimed Victorian fireplaces are so beautiful because this time period in England was a time of great industrial revolution. The artisans making these pieces had better technology in order to perfectly mimic the Gothic and Roman styles that came before them, as well as put their own spins on the overall look. Because mass production became available, the price of these masterpieces dropped significantly, so even a less than upper class family could afford to purchase a nice fireplace.
Reclaimed Victorian fireplaces may be extremely pretty in your home, but they are hard to spot beside fakes and replicas, which are not worth nearly as much money. However, because the Victorian era was such a long time period, the styles range greatly. There are a few key things to look for when you are searching for authentic reclaimed Victorian fireplaces.
First, remember that the Victorian ear may have been very progressive, but the fireplace was still the only form of heat for homes. A fireplace had to be not only beautiful, but also functional. It had to project enough heat for an entire room, so if you find very small fireplacesor ones that are gas or electric or either need fireplaces restoration, they are either replicas or they have been converted from their original state. Also look at the size of the mantel. During the Victorian era, people had more money to spend on decorative items, so mantels were usually larger for displaying these treasures. Marble, wood, and slate are the materials most commonly used, and you’ll find ornate designs and figures carved into the material. Cornucopias were a popular carving. An expert can help point out real reclaimed Victorian fireplaces so that you can be sure you are buying the real deal as a lovely addition to your home.