Gothic period design was influenced by Roman and Medieval architecture. Its initial design period was c.1150 to 1550, but saw a revival in the 19th century by the Victorians.
Gothic design was the first true ecclesiastical style and was symbolic of the triumph pf the Catholic church over paganism in Europe. The new age of soaring cathedrals meant the initiation of new methods of building, to support this extreme weight.
Style had a religious symbolic base- think of old, ornate churches and you will be on the right track. Pointed arches and stained glass in complex trefoil or rose designs were predominant, exposed, wooden beams, large, imposing fireplaces, and emulated candle lighting completed the ecclesiastical style. There was a strong vertical influence, supported by the high arches and peaks of the architecture. Light was also important, as windows grew more and more expansive and light and air flooded into the once gloomy churches of the Romanesque period.
Furniture was massive and oak, adorned with Gothic motifs. Chairs, bed frames, cabinets were sturdy and featured arches, spiral-turned legs and rich upholstery in dark colors. Old church furniture such as pews, benches and trestle tables finish the look. Victorian gothic reproduction and Arts and Crafts era furniture can be used as an acceptable alternative, as many of the same motifs crossed over.
Colors were rich and dark, of the Victorian era. Purple, ruby, black, ochre, forest green and gold added complemented the heavy furniture and rich design. Wallpaper was ornate and heavily patterned in natural flowers and foliage. Also popular was trompe-l’oeil architectural features or stenciled designs. Walls were painted in flat colors, to depict stones, and often covered in wall hangings- especially tapestries. Obviously stained glass was a significant feature, and these were ideally accented with pewter, wrought iron, suits of armour and candles. Decorative ribbing or cornices were common and elaborately carved. Heraldic emblems were seen everywhere.
The church most heavily influenced gothic design, and this medieval ecclesiastical style shines strongly through. Architectural influences were mostly from Roman and Medieval design, with elaborate carved wood and open tracery.
Famous Designers of the Gothic Style
George Gilbert Scott
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