T hroughout history, any widely-accepted contemporary style does not begin or end its reign of being “fashionable” on a specific date. And while any radical new departure in modern fashion may “seem” to have suddenly burst onto the scene overnight as if from some newly tapped well of inspiration, the idea that styles could essentially arrive and/or depart overnight is much too simplistic.
At any given time in modern history, numerous styles are competing to gain acceptance. Most new styles take a long period of time for public acceptance, sometimes years, sometimes never. In the 1890’s, American architectural styles were going through dramatic changes as the preexisting patchwork of jostling Victorian design styles needed to compete with three new design trends; the Art Nouveau, Neo-Classical, and Arts & Crafts movements.
During such times of change is not uncommon for decorative items, especially antique architectural elements, to display specific affectations of more than one style. A stained glass window that combines the structured geometric motifs of late Victorian Neo-Classical with the sinuous tracings of Art Nouveau is an example of style transitioning. In this web site, we call these windows "Transitional." Transitional windows can be found from the early Victorian years to the later modernistic Art Deco period. These windows are facinating and being able to recognize the transitional elements helps in dating them.