The Victorian era was a tumultuous time with many changes in industry, science, art, literature, politics and religion. The upper and middle classes reflected the cacophony of life with elaborate decor.
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Victorians were fond of embellishment and tended to decorate in layers. One of the first items laid out on a mantelpiece was a lace runner. A substantial piece was hung against the wall above the mantle. Paintings, tapestries, wreaths and mirrors were considered suitable. Large objects were placed on the mantel with thought toward symmetry and balance. Collections of smaller items were set within the remaining space.
Pleasing arrangements were clustered on Victorian mantels. Blue-and-white patterned china was popular and pieces were shown together. Victorians were avid gardeners. Flowers both living and dried were seen on mantels. Flower-themed needlepoint, paintings, cards and figurines were placed alongside. Tea sets, dolls, clocks, silver items, gadgets and souvenirs from exotic locations were also popular curios.
Garland was hung along the mantle, small scallops were punctuated by red ribbon bows. Polished candlesticks often flanked a cherished vase filled with evergreen boughs of pine, cedar and balsam. Merry glass balls, cherubs and other trinkets completed Victorian mantelpiece Christmas decor.
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