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Oriental Visions


Price: £25.00


Exhibitions, travel and collecting in the Victorian Age

by Nicky Levell

In 1852 the immense glass structure which had housed the world's first Great Exhibition was moved from Hyde Park to the village of Sydenham. The Crystal Palace soon became a popular destination, attracting more than a million visitors every year and transforming its once isolated surrounds into fashionable London suburbs. This study begins by examining the powerful, though selective, representations of the distant Orient at the People's Palace, which enchanted Victorian sightseers, artists, collectors, and travellers. It then looks at the spectacular displays of the British Empire's 'eastern possessions' at the Colonial and Indian Exhibition of 1886 in South Kensington. Together these two exhibitionary complexes, with their variegated and enticing incarnations of the exotic Orient, not only guided Frederick John Horniman's travels but influenced the type of material that he acquired for his Museum, which was located a short distance from the Crystal Palace. In reconstructuring the biography of the largely forgotten Victorian collector, Frederick Horniman, his tours, his collecting, and his Museum, Levell exposes the network of individuals, objects, exhibitions, and institutions, which gave rise to an array of oriental visions.

360 pages paperback 179 illustrations