The fireplace is the traditional place to gather, relax and converse during the winter months. While the temperature drops and the nights lengthen outside, there’s nothing more inviting than the cosy glow of a fire crackling away, radiating heat and providing the perfect place to unwind after a long day at work.
As we’ve explored before, a fireplace can help to improve the value of your property, and if you happen to buy an older house with an original fireplace stood intact, you can sometimes expect to possibly pay a little more than you would for a property without one.
But as the popularity of the fireplace continues to grow, not just as a way of heating your home but also as focal point for your room design – so the range and styles available has vastly expanded to suit both the most modern tastes but also those with a ‘nod’ towards the past.
We decided to take a nostalgic look at some of our favourite fireplace fashions through the ages – and the best news is that most of the styles can be recreated with a brand new fireplace from our Derby show room.
The Georgian and Regency Period
The Georgian era stretched from 1714-1837 and covered the reigns of Kings George I, II, III and IV. The Regency period, a sub-era of that time, lasted from 1811-1820. During these years, a very prosperous Britain underwent a boom of house-building, design and modernisation. Elegant and impressive buildings and housing rose spectacularly in London (with a newly built West End), Bath, Bristol and many other towns and cities across the country.
Among those spearheading the design revolution were Scottish brothers Robert and James Adam. Their neoclassical works saw the integration of grand exterior and interior designs, of which fireplaces played a major part. Robert in particular looked to classical sources for a range of simple yet elegant fireplace designs, using grand proportions to draw attention and make them the focal point of any room. Hand-carved details surrounding large fireplace openings were prevalent, and inlaid coloured marble was often used to contrast against white marble surrounds.
The Victorian Era
Following the reign of George IV, Queen Victoria ascended to the throne to begin the longest reign of any British monarch, that is until our own Queen Elizabeth II claimed that title in September 2016. During this era fireplace styles underwent noticeable changes as architectural designs altered too. Rooms of this period were distinctly lower in height than their Georgian counterparts, and so fireplaces became lower in height to match. Casting designs were noticeably more ornate and often floral in their inspiration, and mantelpieces became more prominent to accommodate the Victorian love of ornaments and trinkets.
As the era progressed, fireplaces became more geometric in their style but still reflected a beautiful level of expert craftsmanship.
The Art Nouveau Period
From the 1880’s through until the outbreak of World War One in 1914, Art Nouveau brought with it a new and exciting ‘fin de siècle’ (or ‘end of the century’) form of design that took the world by storm. Exquisitely designed cast iron fireplaces began to appear that reflected flowing natural shapes (again, quite floral and organic in their inspiration) with sculpted surrounds and beautiful tile-work.
The Edwardian Era
From the turn of the 20th Century until the early post-Great War period, fireplaces began to be taller and slimmer in their design. Cast iron inserts and grates still featured heavily as did tiled panels, although the designs took on a more simpler appearance than they has during the Victorian and Art Nouveau periods. As the era progressed cast iron decreased in popularity as it was needed for ammunitions for the war effort, and wooden surrounds incorporating mirrored glass became a feature instead.
As you might have guessed at Embers Heating Studio in Derby we have a real passion for fireplaces. We stock a huge range of styles and designs to suit your home environment and add a real touch of class to your living space.
Give us a call on 01332 242299, email [email protected] or pop in to our studio to see what we have on offer. Our fireplace specialists will be only too happy to advise you on what’s best for you, your home and your aspirations.