View of Crystal Palace
About the work
The vast iron and glass structure of the Crystal Palace is shown here beneath a blue sky. Visitors to the ‘Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations’, held within the Crystal Palace from 1 May to 15 October 1851, are gathered in Hyde Park outside the famous building.
When the building first opened in 1851, numerous prints of the structure were published and sold as souvenirs to the many visitors to the exhibition. Most of these follow much the same format as this version, showing the building from the northeast, with a similar contemporary crowd scene in the foreground.
After the exhibition closed, the Crystal Palace structure was moved to Sydenham Hill, south east London, and impressive gardens with elaborate water fountains were created around it. The structure was destroyed by fire on 30 November 1936 and today little sign of the Palace remains. However, in the area now known as Crystal Palace Park, the sculpted dinosaurs, commissioned as a feature of the gardens, survive and were restored in 2002.
About the artist
Augustus Butler was a lithographer and zincographer (a process similar to lithography, but using zinc printing plates) mainly of landscape views after contemporary artists. He made two lithographs for Charles James Richardson’s ‘Studies of Ornamental Design’ in 1848. Butler also worked with William Gauci to produce lithographs for the publication ‘The Mansions of England and Wales’ (London, 1850), written by Edward Twycross. A few of the plates for this series of volumes were also drawn by Butler.
William Gauci was a lithographer, mainly of landscape views after the designs of his contemporaries. Gauci was based in London and his father, M. Gauci, and brother, Paul Gauci, also worked as lithographers. William collaborated with his brother on the production of several prints. In 1831 ‘Arnold's Magazine of the Fine Arts’ commented: ‘William Gauci is a landscape draughtsman; but his style is monotonous; he has however lately obtained more brilliancy than formerly distinguished his works.’