The Queen Anne style of British and American architecture reached its greatest popularity in the last quarter of the 19th century, manifesting itself in a number of different ways, not identically in Great Britain and the United States of America.
Original "Queen Anne" style
The Queen Anne style of British architecture in the 1870s was popularized by George Devey and the better-known Richard Norman Shaw (1831-1912). Its historic precedents were broad: it combined fine brickwork, often in a warmer, softer finish than the Victorians were characteristically using, varied with terra-cotta panels, or tile-hung upper stories, with crisply painted white woodwork, or blond limestone detailing: oriel windows, often stacked one above another, corner towers, asymmetrical fronts and picturesque massing, Flemish mannerist sunken panels of strapwork, deeply shadowed entrances, broad porches, in a domesticated free Renaissance style.
Norman Shaw published a book of architectural sketches as early as 1858, and his evocative pen-and-ink drawings began to appear in trade journals and artistic magazines in the 1870s. American commercial builders were quick to pick up the style.
In the late 1850s, the name "Queen Anne" was in the air, ever since William Makepeace Thackeray's novel, The History of Henry Esmond, Esq., A Colonel in the Service of Her Majesty Queen Anne had appeared (1852).
One minor side effect of Thackeray's novel and Norman Shaw's freehand picturesque vernacular Renaissance survives to this day. When, in the early 1870s, Chinese-inspired Early Georgian furniture on cabriole legs, featuring smooth expanses of walnut, and chairs with flowing lines and slat backs began to be looked for in out-of-the-way curio shops (Macquoid 1904), the style was misattributed to the reign of Queen Anne, and the "Queen Anne" misnomer has stuck to this day. (Even the most stylish furnishings of the historical reign of Queen Anne (1702-1714), as inventories reveal, was in a style that would be immediately identified now as "William and Mary".)
American Queen Anne style
Queen-Anne-style buildings in America came into vogue in the 1880s, replacing the French-derived Second Empire as the 'style of the moment'; the popularity of high Queen Anne style waned as in the early 1900s, however some elements, such as wraparound front porch, continued to be found on buildings into the 1920s.
In America, Queen Anne generally refers to an era of style, rather then a specific formulaic style in its own right. Unlike its British counterpart's use of "crisp white trim" (see above), Queen Anne in America escewed white for bold color resulting in Polychrome paint schemes on exteriors, often referred to as painted ladies, a term that rose in popularity in the 1970s. The most famous Queen Anne residence in America, and quite possibly the best and highest execution of the style in the western world, is the Carson Mansion of Eureka, California.
Within the American Queen Anne Style, broadly speaking, there were also the Eastlake, Stick and Shingle Styles:
The Stick style sought to bring a translation of the balloon framing used in houses in the era by alluding to them through plain trim boards, soffets, aprons and other decorative features, while eliminating overtly ornate features such as rounded towers and gingerbread trim. In the house at left, maximum picturesque value is achieved within the means of a house-carpenter equipped with a turning lathe. Recognizably "Queen Anne" details: interpenetrating roof planes with bold panelled brick chimneys, the embedded corner tower (rendered as an octagon) with its conical roof, the wrap-around porch, spindle detailing, the "panelled" sectioning of blank wall, crown detailing along the roof peaks, radiating spindle details at the gable peaks.
The home of President Warren G. Harding (not illustrated) in Marion, Ohio is another example of stick style architecture; however the porch (which is best known as the home of the Front Porch Campaign of 1920) designed by architect Frank Packard and built onto the house is neo-classical in style, while influenced by the Queen Anne era in that it wraps around the house. Highly stylized and decorative versions of the Stick style are often referred to as Eastlake.
The Eastlake style is named for Charles Eastlake (1836-1906), an Englishman whose Hints on Household Taste in Furniture, Upholstery, and Other Details (1868) was highly influential in American design, by translating John Ruskin and William Morris's ideas into a decorative vocabulary for the carpenter and builder. The Eastlake style's importance is delineated by the use of geometric shapes made possible by modern machine techniques of the era. By making these intricate shapes with machines, it was possible to duplicate the exact complex patterns repeatedly, and in unusual places, such as the inside plates of a hinge.
The Shingle style in America was made popular by the rise of the New England school of architecture, which eschewed the highly ornamented patterns of the Eastlake style, for monochromatic facades using cedar shingles found on early New England architecture. In order to attain a weathered look on a new building, the cedar shakes were dipped in buttermilk, dried and then installed, leaving a grayish tinge to the fašade. Another idea that architects tried to convey through this style was that of 'mass', leading to the use of the style on some of the largest mansions built during the era in America. McKim, Mead and White and Peabody and Stearns were two of the notable firms of the era that helped to popularize the Shingle Style, through their large scale commissions for 'seaside cottages' of the rich and the well-to-do in such places as Newport, Rhode Island. However the most famous Shingle style house built in American was 'Kragsyde' (1882) the summer home comissioned by Bostononian G. Nixon Black, from Peabody and Stearns. Kragsyde was built atop the rocky coastal shore near Manchester-By-the-Sea, Massachusetts, and embodied every possible tenet of the Shingle style.
Many of the concepts of the Shingle Style were adopted by Gustav Stickley, and adapted to the American version of the Arts and Crafts Movement, locally known as the "Mission Style".
Additionally, there are several other notable styles of Victorian architecture, including Italianate, Second Empire, Folk and Gothic Revival.
- Girouard, Mark, Sweetness and Light: The Queen Anne Movement, 1860-1900, Yale University Press, 1984. The primary survey of the movement.
- Macquoid, Percy, Age of Walnut, 1904.
- Vincent J. Scully Jr , The Shingle Style and the Stick Style: Architectural Theory and Design from Downing to the Origins of Wright, revised edition, Yale University Press, 1971.
- Rifkind, Carole. A Field Guide to American Architecture. Penguin Books, New York, 1980.
- Whiffen, Marcus. American Architecture Since 1780, MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1999.