Victorian taste varied widely according to social class and the not-always-closely-related matter of economic status. To begin with, many members of the nobility and land-owning gentry, who lived in homes their families had occupied for centuries, found themselves surrounded by Elizabethan, Jacobean and 18th-century furnishings, and unless they were self-consciously interested in contemporary taste, they were often unlikely to replace perfectly good furniture or silver, however old and out-of-fashion, with any examples of new taste. A conservative, prosperous, but not particularly wealthy member of the squierarchy, like Ralph Carbury of Trollope’s The Way We Live Now, had no fashionable furnishings. Similarly, members of the working classes, farm workers, and unemployed poor, who together made up far more than half of the Victorian population, did not have the resources to furnish their homes with properly Victorian things.
— George P. Landow, Professor of English and Art History, Brown University