Louis Hague’s depiction of part of the display representing France at the 1851 Great Exhibition includes a selection of French sculptures, vases, paintings and tapestries.
This lithograph was included in ‘Dickinsons’ Comprehensive Pictures of the Great Exhibition’ (1854), published some three years after the Great Exhibition closed. The text and illustrations recollected the many displays and gave a critical analysis of some of the objects included. The text accompanying this image explained:
‘THE history of the manufacture of porcelain in France may be divided into two distinct eras; the first commencing in 1695, ...known by the epithet ‘tender’ ... and the second beginning in 1768, after the discovery of a vein of clay at St. Yrieix, near Limoges, ...ending in the establishment at Sêvres of a manufacture of ‘hard’ porcelain on a considerable scale...’
The volume was lavishly illustrated with lithographs after watercolours commissioned by HRH Prince Albert from Joseph Nash, Louis Hague and James Roberts. The original watercolours remain in the Royal Collection today.
Louis Haghe was born in Belgium, the son of an architect. He trained under the Chevalier de la Barrière, later becoming his lithographic assistant. In c.1823, Haghe travelled to London, where his lithographs were printed by William Day, with whom he enjoyed a long, successful collaboration. By the 1820s, he had taken up watercolour painting. He later produced tinted lithographs, including 250 for Roberts’s ‘The Holy Land...’ (1842-49). From the 1850s he focused on watercolours. He was President of the New Society of Painters in Watercolours (1873-84) and a Knight of the Order of Leopold I. He was also a member of the Academies of Belgium (1847) and Antwerp, and the New Society of Painters in Watercolours. He died in Surrey at the age of 78.
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