The Crystal Palace was dismantled and rebuilt in Sydenham after the closing of the Fair and stood there until 1936 when it was destroyed by fire. Although it is no longer standing today, this structure is documented in photographs such as this one, through which it can continue to influence the worlds of architecture and engineering.
The Great Exhibition of 1851 was the first event of its kind, bringing together people from all over the earth in an environment of peace and intellectual stimulation. Conceived as an "Exhibition of the Works of all Nations", the Great Exhibition was the brainchild of Prince Albert and Henry Cole of England. Queen Victoria's husband, his mind always "bent towards the artistic", was easily convinced by Cole to take on this event of massive proportions (Beaver, 11). As President of the Society of Arts, the Prince had played a large role in the exhibitions of 1847, 1848, and 1849. When a Royal Commission was formed in 1850, he was again chosen as President. Consequently, when Cole proposed a larger British Exhibition for the year 1851, he looked to the Prince for approval (Beaver, 11).
The idea of a National Exhibition did not originate with the British, but with the French, who had organized the first exhibition of national products as early as 1798 and had held an exposition every five years since the beginning of the century. The fair in 1849 was particularly well organized and Cole hastily took leave to Paris to observe this event. He found that the initial plans for the 1851 Exposition in London were far too naïve, and if the British wanted to surpass the French, they must set their sights higher. The original site for the Great Exposition was to be the courtyard of...
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...in Hyde Park for the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations, 1851. London: Victoria and Albert Museum. 1972.
Hitchcock, Henry Russell. The Crystal Palace: the structure, its antecedents and its immediate progeny: and exhibition. Northampton, Mass.: Smith College Museum of Art, 1952.
Hobhouse, Christopher. 1851 and the Crystal Palace; being an account of the Great Exhibition and its contents; of Sir Joseph Paxton; and the erection, the subsequent history and the destruction of his masterpiece. London, Murray, 1950.
Hyman, Isabelle; Trachtenberg, Marvin. Architecture. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, Inc. 1986.
Newhall, Beaumont. The History of Photography: from 1839 to the present. New York: Museum of Modern Art. 1982.
Smithsonian. India Trough the Lens: Photography 1840-1911. Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. February 2001.
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