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The Great Exhibition of 1851


The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations was held in the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London, from 1 May to 15 October 1851. It was the first international exhibition of manufactured products and was enormously influential on the development of many aspects of society including art and design education, international trade and relations, and even tourism. The Exhibition also set the precedent for the many international exhibitions which followed during the next hundred years.
Among the results of the Exhibition were the establishment of the pre-cursor to the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Museum of Ornamental Art, in Marlborough House in 1852; and the reorganisation of the national Schools of Design.
The Museum's first objects were selected from exhibits in the Great Exhibition and one of the key organisers, Henry Cole, became the first General Superintendent of the Department of Practical Art, the government body responsible for art education including the new museum. The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, the body set up in 1850 to organise and administer the Exhibition under the Presidency of Prince Albert, made a number of recommendations for improving science and art education in the United Kingdom in their 'Second report of the Commissioners for the Exhibition of 1851' submitted in November 1852. The profits (£170,000) from the Exhibition were invested in land in the South Kensington area, close to the site of the Crystal Palace.
A number of science and art institutions subsequently developed here, not least the V&A, which moved from Marlborough House and opened on its current site in 1857 as the South Kensington Museum.
Prince Albert's Project
The Exhibitions chief proponent and cheerleader was Prince Albert. The Prince Consort envisaged a self-financing event, and encouraged a reluctant government to set up a Royal Commission to oversee the exhibition, to be held in Hyde Park, London. The Commission called for architectural submisions for the exhibition hall, which was to cover an area of over 700,000 square feet. Over 200 submissions were received, but the Commission rejected them all in favour of its own plan, which was universally reviled as ugly and expensive. This latter objection proved all too true, for when the Commission called for tenders for the materials alone, they were apalled to learn it would cost up to 150,000 pounds. The Great Exhibition – 1851Guernsey’s Contribution On Thursday 1st May 1851 Her Royal Majesty Queen Victoria officially opened The Exhibition of Industry of All Nations, now better known as the Great Crystal Palace Exhibition.
The project took almost 2½ years to come to fruition and it’s leading light was Queen Victoria’s husband, Albert, Prince Consort. In 1848 he placed a proposal before British Parliament to set up a self supporting exhibition of the products of British Industry. However, Albert cannot be credited with inventing the concept of an Industrial Exhibition as the formula had already been successfully employed in England, but most particularly in France, on many prior occasions.
At the end of the 18th century the Marquis d’Aveze – Commissioner of the Royal Manufactories of the Gobelins, of Sèvres and of the Savonnerie initiated the first of what was to become a series of Expositions which culminated in the highly successful French Industrial Exposition of 1844. After the success of the 1844 Exposition proposals were put to Parliament detailing the benefits such an Exhibition held in England would have on commerce and the British economy as a whole.
These initial proposals were met with absolutely no support and it was not until 1848, and the involvement of the Prince Consort, that progress began to be made towards realising the event.

Victorian Taxidermy's birth


The Great Exhibition of the Works and Industry of All Nations opened in London on 1st May, 1851. Approximately 100,000 objects were on display to the public from 14000 exhibitors, half of them British and in reality, was a celebration of British achievements put on for foreigners to admire and emulate. To house the Great Exhibition, a huge glass conservatory designed by self-made man Joseph Paxton, was erected in Hyde Park more than a third of a mile long and 66 feet high. It became known as Crystal Palace because of the large amount of glass used in its construction. The works of fourteen Victorian taxidermists were exhibited at the Crystal Palace Exhibition, the majority of those present could be found in Class 29 - Miscallaneous Manufactures and Small Wares. The following Taxidermy names were those exhibitors present at the 1851 Exhibition.
Dennis, Rev. J.B.P. - Bury St. Edmunds
Gordon, C. - Museum Dover
Harbor, Thomas - Reading
Beevor, J. (M.D.) - Newark - upon – Trent
Walford, C., sen - Witham Essex
Walford, J. - Witham Essex
Williams, Thomas Mutlow - Oxford St., London
Leadbeater,John - Golden Square, London
Spencer, Thomas. - Great Portland St., London
Gardner, James - Oxford St. London
Dunbar, William - Golspie, Scotland
Bartlett, Abraham Dee - College St, Camden Town
Hancock , J.A. - London
Plouquet , H. - Stuttgart, Wurtemburg (Germany)
Plouquet received rave reviews for his exhibits of birds and small and large game specimens, which at the time were amongst the finest examples of group taxidermy ever put on display to the public. In one review, his life-size mounts, composed to imitate hunt scenes portrayed by famous artists were themselves described as “beautiful specimens of the art of the taxidermist". Bartlett was of particular interest at the Exhibition for his display that included that of a lifesize reconstruction of the extinct Dodo bird. Formerly an inhabitant of the island of Mauritius, the Dodo was discovered by the Dutch traveler Vasco di Gauma in 1497. The species was said by Dutch explorers to have existed on the island in abundance between the years 1598 and 1600 but became extinct soon afterwards .
Mention is made within the Great Exhibition 1851 catalogue (vol. 2, p.817) of the details of a stuffed Dodo specimen which formed part of the Tradescants Museum in 1600. This specimen passed into the hands of a Dr Ashmol, who later transferred it to the University of Oxford where it was virtually destroyed in 1755, all with the exception of the dried head and foot.
A notable absence from the London taxidermists present at the Great Exhibition was none other than John Gould, although he was represented through an exhibition of a new coloring technique of his plate books he had just patented.
However, Gould had the commercial mind to prepare an exhibition of stuffed Hummingbirds and display them 3 miles away from Hyde Park in the Zoological Gardens of Regent Park. With the approval granted by the Zoological Society of London, Gould financed and constructed a wooden building some 60 feet long near the Zoological Lion house for the purpose of the exhibition. This was a shrewd move by Gould the businessman for had he exhibited the hummingbirds in the Crystal Palace where charging was forbidden, he would have earned nothing. At the Zoological Gardens he took full advantage of the huge crowds flocking to London to visit the Great Exhibition, charged his visitors six pence at a time and managed to make a good profit which was said to be eight hundred pounds.
The exhibition consisted of twenty-four elaborate display cases each approximately 2 feet 2 inches high and 1 foot 10 inches wide, arranged in rows and surmounted by canopies suspended from the ceiling to diffuse the light. The design of each case differed according to whether they had four, six, or eight panels of glass in their structure, and each rested on a wooden base, painted black and gold, which were all raised on a pedestal support.
Each case contained between five and fifteen Hummingbirds, all strategically positioned to exhibit their chief characteristics and to emphasis the metallic iridescence of the male plume. Gould introduced the unusual innovation for the period of foliage and nests into the cases to give an impression of natural habitat, an unusual innovation for that period.
Seventy-five thousand people visited Goulds display of Hummingbirds in 1851, compared with over six million people who visited the Crystal Palace between 1 may and 15 October 1851.
What they consumed during the visit

An estimated 6 million people visited this exhibition (The Labour Government of today could have learned a lesson here with the Dome or should I say Doom!!!!) Don't you just love Labour.

Soda water, lemonade, ginger beer 1,092,337 bottles
Potted meat, tongue etc. 36,000 lbs
Biscuits 37,300lbs Plain buns 870,027
Hams 33 tons Potatoes 36 tons
Salt 37 tons Coffee 14,299lbs
Savoury Pies 33,456lbs Mustard 1,120lbs
Biography of Abraham Dee Bartlett.

Araham Dee Bartlett. 1812-1897
Abraham Dee Bartlett born 27th October 1812 was one of the most prolific and important taxidermists of his time. He considered himself a Naturalist, being that from a very early age evinced a great delight in all matters connected with Natural History and became an expert on the welfare and behaviour of animals after years of observation. In the early days of his career scientific men as well as collectors of rare birds, and especially of rare bird's eggs, made his house a resort, and the reputation of his extraordinary skill in the art of taxidermy became so widely spread that he was obliged to remove his business into larger premises about the latter part of the year 1846, a large house in Great College Street, Camden Town. He worked with or for Dr. J. E. Gray, Mr. G. Gray, Dr. Mantell, Prof. Owen, the Dean of Westminster, the Bishop of Oxford, Sir Charles Lyell, Prof. Huxley, F. Fuller, Yarrell, Ogilby, Gould, Blyth, and Sir Joseph Paxton and he corresponded regularly with Charles Darwin giving information on the habits, anatomy and breeding of animals and received a signed copy of 'Origin of Species' when first published. As someone who included the painter J M W Turner as a family friend, Bartlett was a son of a hairdresser in Covent Garden, one of 9 children and completely self taught saying:
"After all, teaching by the eye is beyond all doubt necessary, for however much we learn by books or words, it is unequal to that which we witness as a means to acquire knowledge."
In the Great Exhibition of 1851 he was awarded the first prize for specimens of taxidermy which included, Eagle under glass shade, diver under glass shade (the property of her Majesty the Queen), snowy owl, Mandarin duck, Japanese teal, pair of Impeyan pheasants, sleeping ourang-utang, sun bittern, musk deer, cockatoo, foxes; carved giraffe; two bronze medals from the Zoological Society; dog and deer; crowned pigeons; leopard and wolf and prize medal for a model of the Dodo. This is the report of the juries: 'The number of British exhibitors is thirteen. Of these the following deserve especial notice. A. D. Bartlett exhibits an ingenious example of the art in the constructed figure of the Dodo - a bird which was once a native of Mauritius, and found there in considerable numbers at the beginning of the last century, but now, as far as is known, entirely extinct.
The drawings of Savery, preserved in the Belvedere at Vienna, and in the Royal Gallery at Berlin, some remains of a skeleton formerly on the collection already alluded to, of Elias Ashmole, consisting now but of the head and one foot, are the data from which the figure has been compiled. The process is of course very different from that of preserving a real animal, the skeleton and skin of which are entire; an artificial body has to be constructed and then covered, feather by feather, with such plumage as is most in accordance with our knowledge of the bird. This has been very skilfully executed, and the result, by the testimony of Mr. Strickland and of Mr. Gray of the British Museum, "represents with great accuracy the form, dimensions and colour of the Dodo, as far as these characteristics can be ascertained from the evidences which exist," whilst it "does great credit to Mr. Bartlett's skill and to his practical acquaintance with the structure of birds." There are other specimens exhibited by Mr. Bartlett which are perhaps more attractive, inasmuch as they represent nature with a fidelity of which all can judge. The pair of Impeyan Pheasants, entitled "Courtship," and the sleeping Ourang-utang, "Repose," are especially deserving of notice. The fleshy parts of the latter have been very skilfully treated; and the dried and shrivelled appearance which they so often assume is entirely avoided. The skeleton of the Orang-utang has been preserved and also the viscera; the whole forming an example of the manner in which rare specimens should be dealt with in order to secure accurate information to the naturalist, and to promote the advancement of science. He was honoured with commands from her Majesty the Queen, and H.R.H. the Prince Consort, pieces which are believed to be now at Windsor Castle. He looked after her birds at Windsor Castle when she was away receiving a gold watch for his efforts.
Bartlett was Superintendent of the natural history department at Crystal Palace 1852-9. He then became Superintendent of the London Zoological Gardens for nearly 50 years 1859-97 and was responsible for introducing the idea that animals should be kept in habitats and fed food as closely related to their natural environment in the wild and having both an indoor and outside space. He was also responsible for replacing wooden individual cages with brick buildings designated to separate species, like the aquarium and reptile house and opening the gardens to the public. This concession to the public undoubtedly brought about the popularity of the collection and its advancement to its present condition. He purchased many animals on behalf of the Zoological Society until London Zoo had developed a collection to rival any other, naming one baby African elephant Jumbo from the phrase 'Mumbo Jumbo' unaware that this animal would grow into the biggest elephant the world had ever seen and who's name is now synonymous with being large. He gave manly lectures at the London Zoological Society, was widely published in 'Land and Water' and others, had 2 books of his memoir's published after his death. Bartlett had 7 children, Clarence was deputy Superintendent and his other son Edward was Curator of Maidstone Museum in Kent from 1874-90 and Curator of Sarawak Museum in Borneo, 1895-7. Bartlett died 7th May 1897 and is buried in the family grave in Highgate cemetery, being only one of 2 humans to die in the zoo, the other being a member of the public who passed away on a bench.

The Story relating to the Gorilla in Bartlett's own words from the journals owned by his family

Araham Dee Bartlett with his first Gorilla, circa 1855. This is the first time these images have ever been shown.
"The first Gorilla with which I had to do came into my hands whilst I was engaged at the Crystal Palace in 1858. It was sent to the British Museum in a barrel of spirits, and Professor Owen placed it in my possession to preserve and mount for the National Museum; after I had preserved it I, by permission of the trustees of that museum, exhibited it at the Crystal Palace, and delivered various lectures on it and the larger apes. "My Dear Sir, - a Mr. Du Challu is desirous to have his largest Gorilla skin properly stuffed. I know no one better qualified to put him in the way of getting this properly done than yourself. Any information, or help you can render, will oblige, yours truly, Dr. Owen" The long and, apparently, interminable contention that was kept up respecting Mr.Du Challu exploits, called forth much correspondence that was quite useless in determining the truth. Many of the remarks and objections that were brought forward on both sides are totally futile and also inaccurate, and tend to obscure the facts. I will endeavour to explain some of them away, and at the same time make am attempt to throw some light upon the subject, which I admit is involved in great obscurity. I will commence with my first introduction to Mr. Du Challu himself, having been called upon by him to assist him with my advice, through Professor Owen.
At Du Challu's request I went to Mr. Murray's to see the skin unpacked; having done this I conveyed the same to my office for the purpose of making a thorough and careful examination of it, and to report upon it. I invited my pupil and assistant, Mr. F. Wilson, to meet M. Du Challu and me and consult with us upon the matter. At this interview I called M. Du Challu's attention to the face of the animal, which I told him was not in a perfect condition, having lost part of the epidermis. In reply he, Mr. Du Challu, assured me that it was quite perfect, remarking, at the same time, that the epidermis on the face was quite black, and that the face of the skin being black was a proof of its perfectness. I, however, then and there convinced him that the blackness of the face was due to its having been painted black; finding I had detected what had been done, he at once admitted that he did it at the time he exhibited it in New York.
The question that arose in my mind upon making this discovery, was, did Mr. Du Challu kill the Gorilla and skin and preserve it? If so, he must recollect that the epidermis came off; supposing he did forget this, he had to paint the face to represent its natural condition. These facts (to which I had a witness) led me to doubt the truthfulness of Du Challu's statement, and it occurred to me that he was not aware of the state of the skin, and probably had not prepared it himself. The skin was in a wretched condition, and was much decayed, and as my examination was not directed to ascertain by what means this animal had been killed, I took less notice of the wounds than I otherwise should have done. Upon this latter subject I beg to offer a few remarks. The first object of a taxidermist is to render all the damages or wounded parts of a skin as perfect as possible, and this can be done by a skilful operator in such a manner as to render the detection of the damaged parts next to impossible. Had the beast been shot in the back, the bullet hole could have been easily closed while in a fresh condition, but not so easily after the skin was hard and dry.
Edward Bartlett (1836 - 1908) was an English ornithologist. He was the son of Abraham Dee Bartlett. Bartlett accompanied Henry Baker Tristram to Palestine in 1863-64, and collected in the Amazon basin and Peru in 1865-69. He was curator at the Maidstone Museum from 1875 to 1890. Species named after Bartlett include Bartlett's Tinamou (Crypturellus bartletti) of Peru - the name being assigned in 1873 by fellow British ornithologists Philip Lutley Sclater and Osbert Salvin.Thank you Wendy Scott for this information and the images

John Gould (1804-1881)

John Gould.
Born in 1804 at Lyme Regis on the English coast, he was one of 5 children and the only son of John and Elizabeth Gould. Gould junior was nearly thirteen years old when his parents moved from Stoke Hill to Windsor where his father had taken the position of head gardener at Windsor Estate. A young Gould was able to expand his interest in ornithology at Windsor, where he would spend much of his free time when not assisting his father, exploring the estate and surrounding country side in search of nests, eggs and bird specimens.
With no formal education he commenced his working life at the age of 13, following in his father's footsteps as a garden hand. A self-taught taxidermist, he was from an early age fascinated by nature in general and ornithology in particular.
By the time he was 21 owever, John Gould had departed the horticultural field to pursue his growing passion of ornithology and taxidermy, a move that was to mark a turning point in his career, and one in which he was to never look back upon. He moved south to London, where in 1825 he set up his own business practice in taxidermy at 11 Broad Street Golden Square Soho.
In 1828 Gould accepted the position of Curator and Preserver to the Museum of the Zoological Society of London, at a salary of £100 per annum. At the same time he continued his private taxidermy business, acted as advisor to national institutions and travelled widely in England and on the Continent, buying and selling specimens.
Gould's lifetime work comprised more than 40 volumes, with more than 3,000 coloured plates. His many scientific papers, mostly devoted to descriptions of new species, established his professional reputation, but he is best known today for his folios.
Encouraged by the response to his first book, Gould set about a more ambitious project: an attempt to illustrate all of the birds of Europe. He engaged Edward Lear to share the job of illustrating the work with Elizabeth Gould and between the three of them they produced 449 plates for "Birds of Europe," which form five volumes when bound. "Birds of Europe" was completed in 1837. Even while engaged in this mammoth task, Gould and his wife were busy with other projects. The monograph of the picturesque "Toucans" was published in 1834, followed by "Trogons" in 1838. Both works were sufficiently successful to warrant second editions in later years.
The one work for which he is best known is his "Monograph of the Trochilidae" or the "Family of Hummingbirds" which was produced between 1849-1861. Each hand-colored lithograph, many of which are highlighted with shimmering iridescence, presents the tiny jewel-like birds visiting lush flowers and foliage. The Gould hummingbirds have steadfastly remained in demand throughout the years by collectors and interior designers. They seem to compliment any decor and have a universal appeal to all ages.
His books were to be high quality, expensive and financed by advance subscription. This was a proven method of publishing used in the two previous centuries, and an almost sure way of financing the production successfully.

Peter The Great 1672-1725

When Peter the Great decided to establish the first Russian public museum of rarities and oddities, he already possessed certain objects which were to serve as a starting point for the museum's collections. Among them were articles from different spheres of the sciences- anatomy, anthropology, ethnography, archeology, mineralogy, botany, mathematics, etc. This first unique collection, which is on display now in the hall of Peter's Kunstkammer, gives the observer a good idea both of the personal interests of Peter the Great and of the level of scientific knowledge in his day. This collection can be called the cradle of Russian science, its primary source. It was no accident that later many research institutes and a number of museums took there origin from the initial Kunstkammer.
The building of the Kunstkammer is also the birthplace of the Russian Academy of Sciences. It was here that the first Russian academicians organized their meetings. The museum also housed the first academic library and research laboratories. The Hall of Peter's Kunstkammer was initially used as an anatomical theater and was specially designed for this purpose.

The contents of these `Kunstkammers' vary according to their owners' tastes, but basically they have the same aim: to be comprehensive and encyclopaedic, to be a microcosm of the whole world gathered under one roof. Furthermore they were created for the glory of prince and country, while at the same time having an educational purpose. This latter aim was specifically mentioned by Peter the Great on the opening of his Kunstkammer in S. Petersburg in 1714. "I want people to look and learn", he declared. This museum may have inspired the Victorians and in particular Charles Darwin to collect natrual history?. This museum contains crude taxidermy and some excellent examples of "pickled" specimens.

Source of the information is: www.southpacifictaxidermy

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