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An 1843 Victorian circus poster for the Pablo Fanque Circus, which inspired the Beatles song Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!, a homage to Victorian circuses
The Dusty Circus font, a commercial font inspired by Victorian circus posters, is an example of Victoriana.

Victoriana are items or material from the Victorian period (1837–1901), especially those particularly evocative of the design style and outlook of the time. The word is usually used to refer to printed work or to objects such as machinery, house decoration, or furniture.

Victoriana tend to reflect the tastes of the period. Examples in literature might be Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist or Sheridan Le Fanu's Carmilla, stories which strongly reflect the moral atmosphere of the time. In the case of objects, a military tailcoat, carriage clock or scrollwork on an iron gate might be considered Victoriana if they were made at the time, in the style characteristic of the Victorian age.

Items such as Stevengraphs were popular collectable items during the revival of interest in Victoriana in the 1960s and 1970s.[1]

Popular culture[edit]

Objects that look Victorian but are not of the time—for example, a gothic-style waistcoat made in the 1990s—would not qualify as Victoriana, having been made outside the relevant period, but instead Neo-Victorian.

In science fiction circles (especially in genres like steampunk), the word is also used loosely to describe imaginary, mock-Victorian worlds, where the look and technology of the Victorian era may sit alongside impossible machinery or fantastic creatures.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Thorncroft, Antony. Memories are made of this 29 November 2008

Further reading[edit]

  • Bridgeman, Harriet & Drury, Elizabeth, eds. (1975) The Encyclopaedia of Victoriana. Feltham: Hamlyn for 'Country Life'
  • Field, Rachael (1988) Victoriana. London: Macdonald Orbis ISBN 035615856X
  • Gabriel, Juri (1969) Victoriana. London: Hamlyn ISBN 0600001385
  • Latham, Jean (1971) Victoriana. London: Muller ISBN 0584103263
  • Laver, James (1966) Victoriana. London: Ward Lock
  • --do.-- (1973) --do.-- revised ed. London: Ward Lock ISBN 0706312791
  • Victoriana. (Miller's Antiques Checklist.) London: MitchellBeazley, 1991 ISBN 0855338954
  • Palmer, Geoffrey & Lloyd, Noel (1976) The Observer's Book of Victoriana. London: Frederick Warne
  • Woodhouse, C. P. (1970) The Victoriana Collector's Handbook. London: George Bell & Sons