I have always been intrigued by Victorian art. It may be because I love fashion and nostalgic things, but there is something about the beauty of what the introduction of color printing and photography did to this time in history. Before the Victorian era, creating both type and pictures was extremely desirable, but the two had yet to become completely successful in being integrated together, in my opinion. It seems along with the Victorian era came this sense of knowing how to combine beautiful pictures with not only set (metal) type but also extravagant handwritten lettering. Along with the strong moral and religious aspect Queen Victoria brought with her rule, came a sense of beauty and optimism that shows in the designs of this era. Painting, type, and graphic design were not the only art forms that this overall proper and piety mood was expressed in, of course. Women's fashion involved beautiful (modest) dresses and bonnets that included lots of lace, color, bows, and puffy sleeves. Ornamental designs were popular in everything from tiles, color plates, and tapestries to the details in buildings, homes, and churches. The insides of Victorian churches were inspired from gothic architecture, consisting of extremely intricate details throughout not only the high painted ceilings and windows, but throughout the outside as well. When it came to the printed work, the religious and newly rich has a major influence on the layouts and concepts. Puppies, kittens, children, flowers, and young women were consistently at the centers of the poster and produced designs of this era. The ability to reproduce these graceful looking paintings was enabled by the invention and development of lithography, which was invented by a Bavarian author by the name of Aloys Senefelder in 1796. This process is based on stone and oil based paints used for transferring the image. Separate color plates were a later addition to this system, which allowed for the beautiful Victorian designs to come to life, using chromolithography. This system did not only enhance the romantic paintings of the Victorian era, but also influenced the style. Luois Prang was a press printer who moved to America in 1850 and joined a printing firm, which he eventually took over. Because of Prang’s interest in collecting sweet, romanticized naturalistic pieces, he dramatically influenced the output of the printed material. He used his color printing presses to being so many different subjects, civil war maps, scenes, and album cards to life. This style is what began the creation of holiday, greeting and birthday cards. Naturally, it all arose with Christmas, first publishing an English Christmas card in 1873. Following this, came the creation of cards with the sweet innocence this style demonstrated throughout. Advertising ate this concept up, and eventually this put Prangs creations behind in competition, pushing him more towards some magazine designs. Once his daughter was born, he concerned himself with the art education field and started to make materials suitable and safe for children to use (water colors/crayons.)
Patterns and pictures continued to be produced, and yet the people who were surprisingly just as inspired by the invention of chromolithography, were typographers who were now able to use unlimited color and reproduce their lettering without the restrictions of metal type. This resulted in the ornamental details of the Victorian era being integrated into the letterforms that could now easily be tied into the images in the compositions. This sweet and romantic era influenced graphic design to be pretty yes, but stylistic and collective as well.