The Edwardian era corresponds to the reign of King Edward VII in Great Britain, whose short-lived governance (1901-1910) followed Victoria's long reign and preceded the modern House of Windsor in England. The "Edwardian" style broadly encompasses the years of 1901 through to 1919.
The beginning of the Twentieth Century experienced tremendous technological and social change. The wonders of the modern world, which had only sprang into being in the 1880s and 1890's brought the first rewards of modern industrialization and mass-produced abundance. It was a time where Britain was at its imperial height and one in three of the world's population were her subjects. On the other side of the Atlantic, Americans were experiencing new-found wealth and indulging in cuisine, fashion, entertainment and travel as never before. Perhaps the Edwardian era was best captured in the Titanic, the grand ocean liner which embodied human progress, opulence, and the excesses of the time.
The Edwardian era is viewed nostalgically and often called the "Gilded Age". In Britain, it was a time of peace: sandwiched between the Boer War (1899-1902) and the First World War which broke out in 1914. In the words of Samuel Hynes, it was a 'leisurely time when women wore picture hats and did not vote, when the rich were not ashamed to live conspicuously, and the sun really never set on the British flag'. It was also a time of great inequality, in which the privileges of the rich were made possible by the labour of their servants, an age when the inequalities of wealth and poverty were starkly delineated and the conventions of class were still rigidly defined - there was a place for everyone and everyone knew their place.