For the Victorian period, I visited none other than the Victoria and Albert Museum. This museum is massive, but it is such a treat to get lost in (which happened a couple times, despite the giant map I was lugging around with me).
The first section I went to was the fashion section, because duh. It was really cool to see how the dresses changed as I left the Georgian period and entered the victorian. Skirts became more round (especially in the back), sleeves got longer, waists got shorter, and shoulder pad became more of a thing (along with the color black). The late 19th century was a very innovative time for fashion, with the invention of the steel crinoline (which held the dress up in a voluptuous way, eliminating the need for multiple petticoats) and artificial dyes.
Fashion in this period was also heavily influenced by Queen Victoria. Women previously didn’t wear white to be married in, until Victoria began the trend in 1840. It’s not surprising that the queen had such an impact, given this was a time where private life was strictly governed by the social conventions set forth by Queen Victoria and her family. This influence was to the point where people were expected to go into mourning when members of the Royal Family died. People would wear black and carry out their mourning rituals for as long as was socially acceptable.
Another thing that stood out to me as I walked through the victorian period, was a bust of Victoria. This bust stood out to me because I’ve never seen Queen Victoria portrayed as young. I’ve previously seen here as a grim-looking middle aged woman, standing triumphantly in the middle of a random square. This Victoria, however, looks soft and youthful. She has a dress draping off her shoulders and wear a crown of flowers. I think this depiction of the queen is interesting because it’s very Roman. It makes me think about the idea of empire that a talked about the other week. I’ve seen several busts of English royalty designed in the style of a Roman emperor, which seems to be indicative of their power and status.