Sunday, August 20, 2006

Great Exhibit Appealed to Victorian Sentiments

During Queen Victoria’s reign, Albert undertook a phenomenal achievement. Although exhibitions highlighting industry and science and technology were already available to the public, nothing like the World Fair of 1851 had yet been undertaken.

Ambitious and regarded as suitable work for a monarch to expend great levels of energy developing, the World Fair showcased the famed Crystal Palace exhibition hall which was ostensibly inspired by a noble’s topiary garden. During January of 1851, cart-horses were utilized to raise trusses for the central aisle of the steel and glass “Crystal Hive.” The exhibit got underway.

A quick link for statistics on the Great Exhibit can be found at

Due to the fact that the Exhibit was closed on the Sabbath, Sunday, only the wealthy and privileged were able to attend. (Commoners who worked six days a week were seldom allowed days off, except for Sundays.) Millions of attendees traveled mostly by railway from theoretically every country, since every nation was allowed to showcase their arts and industry.

Many Victorian era journals recorded the thrilling moments of attending the Great Exhibit, experiencing the wonders of the future on display. Whether drawn by nouveaux artists’ sculptures, on the one hand as the nobiliary Rothschild’s recorded of their experiences, or by the new technology on display, attendees were not disappointed.



Mary Ann Webber said...

Love your blog on the Great Exhibit, Kristen.
There is a replica of the Crystal Palace here in Dallas. Hopefully RWA members will get a glimpse of it while they're here for the 2007 Nationals.

Jenn said...

A great blog on a fascinating subject. I didn't realize the great masses were unable to attend, it puts the thing in a whole new light. I did know that a note in one's journal about attending was considered a must.