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Victorian Regency c. 1840—c. 1890
|Victorian Regency, as its name suggests, is a
continuation of the Old Colonial
Regency style. In nineteenth-century Britain and Australia, those
who upheld the virtues of refinement and simple elegance fought a protracted
rearguard action against what they saw as Victorian vulgarity. During the
early years of Victoria’s long reign, these virtues were still being admired
by people blessed with the kind of ‘good taste’ which had flourished during
the eighteenth-century Age of Reason.
The Regency style required simplicity, subtlety and restraint, and the style’s rules allowed little room for development or change. In Australia, consequently, Victorian Regency buildings continued to exhibit clearly defined rectangular masses arranged symmetrically with, more often than not, the outer edges of the roof finished behind a simple parapet. The masonry walls of stone or brick were usually stuccoed and lined to imitate quality stonework, but on occasions walls were finished externally in face brickwork. Projecting mouldings of simple, classical design were gently modelled in stucco to cast delicate shadows on the smooth surfaces of the walls. Crisp lines and classical proportions in the treatment of doors and windows continued from earlier times, and Iouvred timber jalousies were often provided for protection against the summer sun.
A recurring feature of the Regency style is the balcony cantilevered out from the face of the wall and finished with a tasteful balustrade of iron or timber. Ground-floor verandas had rectangular timber posts with the broad face set to the street, or openwork iron columns; sometimes, in the more prestigious examples, classical columns might be used. The elegantly drooping concave or ogee roof was popular for verandas, reflecting its canvas- awning origins. Here, corrugated-iron roofing could easily be curved to the desired profile, and it soon became the norm.
The unchanging nature of the style appealed to speculative builders, who found its simplicity easy to exploit, even to the point of omitting the stucco on external walls and painting the bare brickwork. But, whether it was destined to cater for the needs of a poor artisan or a rich merchant, the Regency building had an air of aristocratic understatement.
Burrundulla, Mudgee, NSW. William Weaver, architect, c. 1865. A Palladian composition of brick central block and parapeted wings with faceted ends.
"A Pictorial Guide to Identifying Austrlian Architecture; Styles and Terms from 1788 to the Present"
RICHARD APPERLY, ROBERT IRVING, PETER REYNOLDS. PHOTOGRAPHS BY SOLOMON MITCHELL.
Angus & Robertson Sydney 1995 ISBN 0207 18562 X
Copyright © 1989 by Richard Apperly, Robert Irving and Peter Reynolds.
|Court house, Albury, New South Wales, built 1860; Palladian-style|
|St James Old Cathedral. King Street, Melbourne; 1839-1849, resited 1914. One of Melbourne's oldest surviving buildings|
|Sydney Mint. Sydney. Completed 1816. The oldest public building in Australia.|