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Eclectic Homes of the 19th to 20th Century

Updated on June 7, 2017

At the end of the 19th century, the Eclectic period was born. Eclecticism really began in 1870, the last decade of the Victorian period and can be aptly described as an extension of the Victorian era.

It was a time when art magazines showcased awesome decorative arts source materials from Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan, Turkey, India and China, and everyone was fascinated by the vast availability of such arts and pictures of eclectic homes, and even if they had to be imported the growing wealth of the country could afford it.

Eclectic Interior Design
Eclectic Interior Design | Source

Parisian decorators who promoted furniture and furnishes of both antiques and Louis style reproductions caught the attention of the people, and because of a renewed interest in stylish art and architecture, they brought in art and furniture reproductions of 18th century France, and set up branch shops primarily for those who were building eclectic homes of pseudo-French châteaus in the cities.

Eclecticism
Eclecticism | Source

The Eclectic trend was also evident in the smaller New York homes, though little thought was given to creating a particular period décor. Anything that looked beautiful, exquisite and was European was desired, and people didn’t hesitate to have a mix of period styles used in the same interior space.

This mixed bag of styles of different art periods displayed a widespread lack of harmony and uniformity which resulted in rampant sentimentalism in pictures and interior accessories.

To the Americans, originality became less important than eclecticism, making their attempts to beautify their home surroundings with the arts of other countries illogical and unsystematic.

The artists and the public never realized the unimaginative result of an artistic effect that was imitative without being creative.


Further Reading:

9 Eclectic Style Mistakes - Why You Got the Design Concept Wrong

21 Features of 18th Century Georgian Home Interiors

Homes of the First Settlers in America

Merits of the Eclectic Period

The eclectic period in American history was not without merits though. There were a vast number of great importations of art due to the rising interest in styles of decorative arts and interior design from many countries, which included authentic and accurate reproductions and layouts of English, French, Italian and Spanish interiors.

The period served an educational purpose in that it 'taught' of the art expressions of other people and other cultures, even though for a long time, analysis of the basic principles of how these art pieces brought from other lands were formed was of no particular interest, nor was any consideration given to their suitability in variation.

Eclectic Architectural Styles of Homes

By the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, people randomly choose the styles they desired without necessarily following the same styles or art periods both in architectural styles of houses and their interior design and decoration.

There were over a dozen choices of styles and architectural types, including the:

  • Medieval style castle
  • Normandy farmhouse
  • Tudor mansion
  • Georgian manor house
  • Italian style villa
  • Mediterranean house
  • Spanish villas

The people wanted their homes to be proportional in structure and accurately reproduced to look like their originals. They were built to have effective interior planning and comfortably furnished in antique or authentic reproductions of the architectural style of the house.

Eclectic homes were equipped with modern plumbing and other conveniences. This trend of eclecticism continued through to the first quarter of the 20th century.

The end of the Eclectic era witnessed the start of a "revolt" against style revivals of the past and a brand new acceptance of functionalism.

Eclectic homes were equipped with modern plumbing and other conveniences. This trend of eclecticism continued through to the first quarter of the 20th century.

The end of the Eclectic era witnessed the start of a "revolt" against style revivals of the past and a brand new acceptance of functionalism.

© 2011 artsofthetimes

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      artsofthetimes 5 years ago

      Thank you MelloYelloMan :)

    • MelloYelloMan profile image

      MelloYelloMan 5 years ago

      Beautiful:)