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Great Exhibition - A Document history

Price: £350.00

Editor: Geoffrey Cantor

4 volume set c1,600 pages

This must be the most informative publication printed in the last 100 years on the Great Exhibition.

The Great Exhibition of 1851 was the outstanding public event of the Victorian era. Housed in Joseph Paxton’s glass and iron Crystal Palace, it presented a vast array of objects, technologies and works of art from around the world. The first industrial exhibition of international scope, contemporary commentators attributed much wider significance to it. Prince Albert, in particular, argued that the Great Exhibition would bring nations together in a spirit of friendly rivalry, following the social upheavals of the previous decade.

But the Great Exhibition’s role and long-term influence is far from clear-cut: did it encourage free trade or risk giving foreign competitors an advantage? Did it celebrate the achievements of the workers or give more power to industrialists and factory owners? Was it ungodly – even blasphemous – or did it promote Christianity across the British Empire? The Great Exhibition proved highly controversial, and the disputes in contemporary literature allow a significant insight into areas of political, social and religious contention in the mid-nineteenth century.

Letters, diaries, minutes of meetings, official documents, newspaper articles, sermons, poems and pamphlets all help to provide a depth of context for the Exhibition and its legacy. The edition will be of interest to scholars of Victorian Studies, Industry and Trade, History of Science, Empire Studies and Design.

Organizing the Exhibition
‘Mansion House Meeting’, Times (1849); ‘Works of the Industry of All Nations’, Ipswich Journal (1849); ‘Report by Messrs Cole and Fuller on the Views of Manufacturers and Others Regarding Periodic Exhibitions’ (1849); ‘Victoria’s appointment of the Royal Commission’, London Gazette (1850); Minutes of the Proceedings of Her Majesty’s Commissioners for the Exhibition (1851)*; ‘Mansion House Meeting’, Times (1850); ‘Meeting at Willis’s rooms’, Times (1850); Samuel Wilberforce, On the Dignity of Labour (1850); ‘Mansion House Meeting’, Times (1850); ‘Copy of a Letter Addressed by the Commissioners of the Exhibition of 1851 to the Lords of the Treasury’, House of Commons Papers (1850); Debate in the House of Commons: ‘Hyde Park – Exposition of 1851’, Hansard Parliamentary Papers (1850); ‘Grand Civil Banquet in York’, Daily News (1850); ‘The building for the Great Industrial Exhibition of 1851’, Athenaeum (1850); Illustration of the design submitted by the Planning Committee from Illustrated London News (1850); ‘The Dinner to Mr Paxton at Derby’, Daily News (1851); Henry Cole, ‘Introduction’, Official Descriptive and Illustrated Catalogue (1851); Digby Wyatt, ‘The Construction of the Building’, Official Descriptive and Illustrated Catalogue (1851)

Reactions to the Proposed Exhibition
‘The Great Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations’, Times (1849); Discussion at the Institution of Civil Engineers following a paper by Matthew Digby Wyatt, ‘On the Construction of the Building for the Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations in 1851’, Minutes of Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers (1850–1); [W B Adams], ‘The Industrial Exhibition of 1851’, Westminster Review (1850); ‘London in 1851’, Fraser’s Magazine (1851); ‘Hyde Park in 1851’, John Bull (1850); ‘Collateral Blessing of the Exhibition of 1851’, John Bull (1850); ‘The World’s Raree Show’, John Bull (1851); ‘The Glass House Tyranny’, John Bull (1851); ‘The World’s Show and the World’s Democracy’, John Bull (1851); ‘The Latest Invention for the Crystal Palace’, John Bull (1851); ‘The Gathering of All Vagabonds’, John Bull (1851); ‘Her Majesty at the Crystal Palace’, John Bull (1851); Editorial, 26 April, John Bull (1851); ‘The Archbishop at the Crystal Palace’, John Bull (1851); Editorial, 3 May, John Bull (1851); [John Gifford Bellett], Belshazzar’s Feast in Its Application to the Great Exhibition (1851); John Charles Whish, The Great Exhibition Prize Essay (1851); [W E Aytoun], ‘The Proposed Exhibition of 1851’, Blackwoods Edinburgh Magazine (1850); ‘Great Meeting at the Literary and Scientific Institution, John Street, Fitzroy Square’, Northern Star (1850); ‘The Great Humbug of 1851’, Northern Star (1850); Gracchus, ‘The Monster Exhibition of 1851’, Reynolds Weekly Newspaper (1850); William W Pickvance, Prize Essay, on the Advantages Working Men Will Derive by Visiting the Exhibition of 1851 (1850); The Great Industrial Exhibition, in 1851. The Disastrous Consequences which Are Likely to Arise to the Manufacturing Trade of This Country, from the Carrying Out of the Proposed ... Exhibition, by a Late Manufacturer ([1850]); William Felkin, The Exhibition of 1851 and the Products of Industry of All Nations. Its Probable Influence upon Labour and Commerce (1851); Louis Alexis Chamerovzow, The Industrial Exhibition of 1851. Being a Few Observations upon the General Advantages which May be Expected to Arise from It ([1851]); Address in The Expositor: an Illustrated Recorder of Inventions (1850); ‘Patent-Law Reform’, Engineer and Machinist (1850); Letter from F W Campion, ‘Patent Law and the Great Exhibition’, Engineer and Machinist (1850); Charles Babbage, The Exposition of 1851; or, Views of the Industry, the Science, and the Government of England (1851)*; [George Frederick Collier], The Philosopher’s Mite to the Great Exhibition ([1850]); M C J, ‘The Great Exhibition – Weapons of Warfare’, Art-Journal (1850); ‘The Great Exhibition and American Slavery’, Anti-Slavery Reporter (1851); M D, ‘Contribution of the Products of Aborigines to the Industrial Exhibition’, Athenaeum (1850)

The Opening on 1st May 1851
‘The Great Exhibition’, Illustrated London News (1851); W M Thackeray, ‘May Day Ode’, Times (1851); Account of the opening in Illustrated London News (1851); Victoria’s journal entry for 1 May 1851, from C H Gibbs Smith, The Great Exhibition of 1851 (1950); ‘The Exhibition. Letter from a Country Visitor to Her Friend in the North’, Morning Call (1851); Mrs S C Hall [Anna Maria Fielding], ‘The First of May at the Great Exhibition’, Art-Journal (1851); Account of opening in Henry Mayhew, 1851 or, The Adventures of Mr and Mrs Sandboys, and Family, who Came Up to London to ‘Enjoy Themselves’ and to See the Great Exhibition (1851); ‘Jules Janin on the Opening of the Great Exhibition’, Times (1851); ‘The Opening of the Great Exhibition’, Civil Engineer and Architect’s Journal (1851); W M Thackeray, ‘What I Remarked at the Great Exhibition’, Punch (1851)

Guides to the Exhibition and Other Material Addressed to Visitors
London as It Is To-Day: Where to Go, and What to See, During the Great Exhibition (1851)*; [Henry Morley], ‘The Catalogue’s Account of Itself’, Household Words (1851); Popular Guide to the Great Exhibition (1851); Robert Hunt, Companion to the Official Catalogue. Synopsis of the Contents of the Great Exhibition of 1851 ([1851]); A Visit to the Great Exhibition by One of the Exhibitors (1851); ‘The Great Exhibition’, Family Economist (1851); ‘The Exhibition. Letter from a Country Visitor to Her Friend in the North’, Morning Call (1851); M F Tupper, A Hymn for All Nations ([1851]); ‘England’s Welcome to the World’ and ‘The Great Exhibition: A Ballad for the Workmen’, from M F Tupper, Cithara: A Selection from the Lyrics of M F Tupper (1863); Ballads: ‘Crystal Palace’ and ‘The Exhibition and Foreigners’; Musical items: Playbill: ‘M Jullien’ at the Royal Surrey Botanical Garden, 25 June 1851, J R Ling, ‘The Crystal Palace Waltzes’ ([c.1851]), Andrew Park, ‘The Glorious Exhibition’ ([c.1851]); [William Haig Miller], A Walk through the Crystal Palace (1851); Anon., An Address to Foreigners Visiting the Great Exhibition of Arts in London, 1851. The Scriptures and the Sabbath in England ([1851])

Visitors’ Accounts
Two appendices to the First Report of the Commissioners for the Exhibition of 1851, to the Right Hon Spencer Horatio Walpole (1852); ‘Rafraîchissements … par Thomas Masters’ [Menu in French]; Robert Franklin, Wanderings in the Crystal Palace ([1851]); John Tod’s manuscript account of his visit to the Exhibition*; Charlotte Brontë’s letters, from C Shorter, The Brontës Life and Letters (1907)*; Z M W, ‘A Lady’s Glance at the Great Exhibition’, Illustrated London News (1851); J W R, ‘A Vision in the Crystal Palace’, Illustrated London News (1851); E Cecil Curwen, ed., The Journal of Gideon Mantell: Surgeon and Geologist (1940)*; John A Cooper, ed., The Unpublished Journal of Gideon Mantell, 1819–1852 [n.d.]*; A [Scottish] Country Minister, ‘Notes of a Visit to the Great Exhibition’, MacPhail’s Edinburgh Ecclesiastical Journal (1851); ‘The Great Exhibition’, United Presbyterian Magazine (1851); S A, ‘Wanderings in the Exhibition’, Art-Journal (1851); J A C, ‘A Sunday School Teacher’s Visit to the Great Exhibition in the Crystal Palace’, Sunday School Teachers’ Magazine (1851); Autobiography of Mary Smith, Schoolmistress and Nonconformist, A Fragment of a Life (1892)*; John Lemoinne’s letters in The Great Exhibition, and London in 1851. Reviewed by Dr. Lardner, &c. (1852); J B, ‘A German’s Letters from London to a Friend at Home’, The Expositor (1851); Elihu Burritt, Letters, Diaries and a Speech, transcribed from Elihu Burritt’s journals (1851), letters to Anna M Southall (1850–6) and other Burritt Papers*. Also part of Burritt’s speech to the 1851 Peace Congress (1851); Thomas Onwhyn, Mr & Mrs John Brown’s Visit to London to See the Grand Exposition of All Nations: How They Were Astonished at its Wonders!!, Inconvenienced by the Crowds, & Frightened out of Their Wits, by the Foreigners ([1851]); [William Henry Smith], ‘Voltaire in the Crystal Palace’, Blackwood’s Magazine (1851)

Perspectives on the Exhibition
Ion [George Jacob Holyoake], ‘Progress of the People: The Workman and the Exhibition’, Leader (1851); ‘Thoughts on the Great Exhibition’, Monthly Christian Spectator (1851); P D, ‘The Great Exhibition–What It Is’, Hogg’s Instructor (1851); Editorial comment on George Rochfort Clarke re nude statues, Morning Chronicle (1851); ‘Sermons in Stones’, Punch (1851); ‘What the Richer Are We?’, ‘How to get on’ and ‘A word to our Brethren the Operatives’, Expositor (1851); George Clayton, The Great Exhibition: Its Dangers and Duties; Two Sermons, Preached in York Street Chapel, Walworth (1851); William Conway, The Great Exhibition an Opportunity to Promote the Glory of God. A Sermon Preached at the Parish Church of St. Nicholas, Rochester (1851); Anon., The World’s Great Assembly ([1851]); John Morison, The Unity of Race, with its Correlative Claims: Thoughts Suggested by the Great Exhibition (1851); ‘On the Products of Industry of Aboriginal Races at the Great Exhibition’, Colonial Intelligencer (1850–1); ‘Memorable Things in the Great Exhibition’, Visitor, or Monthly Instructor (1851); ‘Ecclesiological Aspect of the Great Exhibition’, Ecclesiologist (1851); Edward Forbes, ‘On the Vegetable World as Contributing to the Great Exhibition’, in Art-Journal Illustrated Catalogue: The Industry of All Nations 1851 (1851); ‘Sheffield Contributions to the World’s Fair’, Illustrated Exhibitor (1851); Richard Redgrave, ‘Supplementary Report on Design’, Reports of the Juries … (1852)*; ‘India and Indian Contributions to the Industrial Bazaar’, Illustrated Exhibitor (1851); [Charles Dickens and Richard Horne], ‘The Great Exhibition and the Little One’, Household Words (1851)

Closing Ceremony and Assessments
‘Our Last Look at the Great Exhibition’, The Appeal; A Magazine for the People (1851); Report of closing ceremony, Illustrated London News (1851); ‘Close of the Great Exhibition’, Illustrated London News (1851); ‘The Great Exhibition Awards (second notice)’, Illustrated London News (1851); Gracchus, ‘Last Words on the Exhibition’, Reynolds Weekly Newspaper (1851); S A, ‘Wanderings in the Exhibition’, Art-Journal (1851); Cartoons from Punch:‘An appeal to the public’, ‘Closing of the Exhibition’, ‘Lines to be recited on the closing of the Exhibition’, ‘Heads of the people on the removal of the Crystal palace’ and ‘Praise and pudding’ (1851); R[ichard] C[oltman] Soper, England’s Lament over the Destruction of Her People’s Palace. A Poem (1852); H S, ‘Thoughts on the Closing of the Crystal Palace’, Friend (1851); ‘The Great Exhibition: A Thanksgiving Service at Exeter Hall’, in The Great Exhibition. Forty-Four Sermons Delivered in Exeter Hall, on the Occasion of the Opening of the Great Exhibition … Selected from the Penny Pulpit ([1851])*; Joseph Paxton, What Is to Become of the Crystal Palace? (1851); Francis Fuller, Shall We Spend £100,000 on a Winter-Garden for London, or in Endowing Schools of Design in Birmingham, Manchester &c? (1851); William Whewell, ‘General Bearings of the Great Exhibition’, in Lectures on the Results of the Great Exhibition of 1851 (1852)