The Government Art Collection recognises its responsibility to artists, colleagues and all our audiences to represent the diversity of the UK and to embed anti-racist and equitable practices throughout our work. We are taking action to address inequality in the Collection and its interpretation.
The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations was an immense international exhibition held in Hyde Park in London from 1 May to 15 October 1851. It took place in a glass building, with a cast-iron frame, designed by Joseph Paxton, which was nick-named the Crystal Palace.
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 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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