Queen Anne Revival Architecture

Instructor: David Juliao

David has a bachelor's degree in architecture, has done research in architecture, arts and design and has worked in the field for several years.

In this lesson, we explore Queen Anne Revival architecture that developed in the United Kingdom and North America during the last decades of the 19th century. We discuss the main characteristics and discover some examples of this peculiar style.

Queen Anne Revival Architecture

The inspiration for many haunted mansions was actually the trend in architecture for a few decades. Queen Anne Revival was a style of the Victorian era which became popular during the last years of the 19th century and lasted until the first years of the 20th century. It was mostly seen in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and the United States. By 1905, Queen Anne Revival had lost popularity, and architects who had favored it were moving towards more modern forms of expression, or even moving back to more classical architecture.

Although this style originated in England, it has a very little resemblance, if any, to the English Baroque style seen during the reign of Queen Anne in the 18th century. Queen Anne Revival architecture was an eclectic style and took ideas from different times in history.

Norman Shaw was a pioneer architect of the Queen Anne Revival style. This British architect reacted against urban industrialism by using architecture to promote freer and more artistic forms. Industrialization, however, gave the opportunity to make this style popular. Mass production made decorative elements more affordable, and they could be widely incorporated into architectural designs.

Characteristics of Queen Anne Revival Architecture

Queen Anne Revival drew its inspiration from different eras and incorporated different ideas into its designs. However, it does have some common characteristics.

One of the most defining characteristics of Queen Anne Revival was its asymmetrical construction. Most of the preceding architectural styles relied on symmetry, and the new style wanted to break with that rigor. Building facades were also conceived in a picturesque way, breaking with traditional proportions and looking to maximize the artistic character of every structure.

Morey Mansion, built in Redlands, California in 1890
Morey Mansion, built in Redlands, California in 1890

The corner tower was a distinctive element of Queen Anne Revival houses. Each tower was different; it could be almost any geometrical shape. The tower was used to deliberately break with symmetry on the facades. Large chimneys were another important architectonic element used in Queen Anne Revival. They were used as monumental pieces to give the building an artistic and dramatic character. Just like the corner towers, chimneys also enhanced the asymmetrical layout of the composition.

Large, oriel windows were often used in Queen Anne Revival. Oriel windows projects from the main wall of the construction without reaching the ground. Windows were often stacked above another. We also see the use of classical columns. Capitals were part of the facade decoration or constructive elements to support the roof over windows and porches.

Stepped gable roofs were also frequent in this architecture. They were designed as several intersecting elements built on top of the different areas of the structure. The roofs were usually made out of wood and covered in slate on the outside.

Fine brickwork finishes were common for the facades, especially in the United Kingdom. Brickwork often had a warm and soft finish. In North America, painted wood was the most commonly used finish for Queen Anne Revival facades. They often incorporated details and embellishments using many materials, including stone, wood, metal, and brick.

Houses were often surrounded by broad porches that extended along the front facade and sometimes also on the side facades. The large porches created shadowed entrances that became common for this style. These entryways were usually raised a few steps above the ground level.

Since many constructions of Queen Anne Revival style were detached houses, the open space was also an important part. Front gardens became popular, and they were enclosed with wooden fences featuring elaborate designs.

David T Denny Residence, built in Seattle, Washington, circa 1900
David T Denny Residence, built in Seattle, Washington, circa 1900

Examples of Queen Anne Revival Architecture

Queen Anne Revival was mainly a style for residential single-family houses. However, some row houses and civic buildings were also designed following the ideas of this architectural trend.

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