‘The Great Exhibition’ was an immense international exhibition, held in Hyde Park, London, from 1 May to 15 October, 1851. It took place in a glass building, with a cast-iron frame, which was designed by Joseph Paxton and nick-named the Crystal Palace. This print is from the publication ‘Dickinsons’ Comprehensive Pictures of the Great Exhibition’, published some three years after its closure. The exhibition was made up of numerous individual displays, themed according to a particular industry or country. Most Plates in the publication represented a particular display. They were accompanied by a critical analysis of the display’s contents. The volume was lavishly illustrated with lithographs, made after watercolours of the exhibition commissioned by HRH Albert, Prince of Wales from the artists Joseph Nash, Louis Hague and James Roberts. The original series of watercolours remain in the Royal Collection today.
Joseph Nash was born at Great Marlow; the son of a clergyman. He was a pupil of Augustus Charles Pugin, with whom he travelled to Paris in 1829 to make drawings for ‘Paris and its Environs’ (1830). He also lithographed plates for Pugin's ‘Views Illustrative of Examples of Gothic Architecture’ (1830), ‘Architecture of the Middle Ages’ (1838) and ‘The Mansions of England in the Olden Times’ (1839-49). He exhibited from 1831 to 1879, chiefly at the British Institution, the Old Watercolour Society and the New Watercolour Society. His exhibits included architectural subjects and designs from Shakespeare, Scott and Cervantes. His most typical works are interiors of Tudor or Elizabethan mansions peopled with figures. He died at 69, in Kensington.
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