Universal Exhibition of Agricultural, Industrial and Fine Arts Products - Paris 1855

Agriculture, Industry and Fine Arts

May 15, 1855 - November 15, 1855


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France

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The entire north side is occupied by France; the south side, starting from the west, begins with Prussia and the Zollverein; Belgium, the United States and Great Britain follow. The flags of each nation fly over their display.

Turning to our right, we find ourselves in front of the first trophy, a large and elegant display case with the inscription Paris, and the arms of that city. Indeed, we see there the summary of the Parisian manufacture and trade, jaconas, barèges, etc., light fabrics, of exquisite designs, whose centre of trade is in the streets of the Sentier, Jeûneurs, etc.

Messrs. Bernoville frères, Larsonnier frères, and Chenest have exhibited in this showcase samples of their combing and wool spinning factories. In front of this showcase, there is a cast iron group representing the Minotaur. This group comes from Messrs Eck and Durand.

The second trophy is made up of French porcelain, from private factories, with Sèvres in the panorama. The taste with which this exhibition is arranged will strike the visitor.

The middle of this exhibition is occupied by a mirror with a porcelain frame, in front of which is a bust of the Emperor sculpted by M. Barre and executed by M. Gilles.

Next to this bust, there are porcelain and biscuit vases of elegant shapes, white and enamelled in different colours. Two large vases with candelabras by Mr. Meyer, perfect imitation China, are on the two extreme sides. Two vases of a very difficult execution, by Messrs Pilliouyt and Dupuis, are also to be seen. These vases are decorated with Chinese subjects with a green water background called Celadon background. It is this background, imitated from China, which has not yet been so well reproduced, and which is of great difficulty.

We also see vases in the style of Louis XIV, XV and XVI, a charming cup whose pedestal is surrounded by the three Graces holding hands, and at the sides two large vases painted and decorated by Manoury, whose hunting and fishing subjects are very well done.

But it is above all two large biscuit pots, with a wide belly, by Messrs Jouhanneaud and Dubois, of Paris, that attract the eye. They represent the triumph of a Bacchante. The latter, with her head turned upside down, holding the pot she emptied, is carried on the shoulders of her companions, and on those of a young man and a young woman.
and a young woman.

The same manufacturers have two biscuit pots, whose subjects are borrowed from the Flemish kermesses of Téniers, very pretty and which are found among the services on the last floor. Among these, we will point out to visitors the dark blue one by Messrs. Pepin-Lehalleur, whose clear shades are all the more meritorious as this colour is of enormous difficulty in porcelain, because it requires the porcelain to be heated to red at the risk of sinking.

Mention must also be made of a cup which will be found below, made and painted to fit a metal base of Indian manufacture which supports it.
Indeed, the workmanship is so perfect that it is difficult to distinguish the metal base from the porcelain bowl.

On the right-hand side, one will notice the very successful imitations by M. Avisseau of the works of the famous sixteenth-century French potter, Palissy, whose art was lost for a long time. These are plates and rocks decorated with lizards, fish, etc. On the other side is an elegant vase by M. Haviland, from Limoges, with a gold background and designs. On the inner rim, a light enamel depicts a fight between Centaurs and Lapiths. Two porcelain chandeliers, white gold and enamelled with flowers and snakes, adorn the perimeter of this pavilion. The model of these chandeliers is by Messrs Ernie and Coudère, and the manufacture by M. Burguin.

Opposite this trophy, there is a large basin with melon ribs, made of green earthenware, imitating marble. Around the rim, vine stocks hang in a garland, joined by ribbons. The vines, ribbons, leaves and grapes are made of a white and male paste, called "pâte de Paros" by M. Millet. Three small children of natural size are seated around another vase in which they are looking.

The third trophy is that of Parisian industry, that is to say, jewellery, artificial flowers, fashions, and those thousand light objects which are called articles de Paris, of exquisite taste, and which are to be found on the shelves and toilets of elegant ladies, such as bottles, fans, etc. The first thing that strikes the eye is a very elegant court coat, white, embroidered with gold. The richness and beauty of the design distinguishes this ornament of great ceremony at the imperial court. On the front is the fine jewellery of the house of Bapst, one of the first jewellers in Paris. Amongst these treasures is a ring, set with a black diamond, and an ornament of diamonds and pearls, costing 76,000 francs, of a very fine effect; another of diamonds and rubies, costing 80,000 francs, of superior workmanship. The artificial flowers of Messrs. Perrot and Petit, an industry in which Paris excels, will attract the attention of the visitor by their perfect imitation of nature.

The embroidered shoes, parasols, etc., leave nothing to be desired. Let us note again the taste and finesse of the feather headdresses, etc.

Only one house has the honour of occupying the next trophy, that of Denière, with that of Barbédienne, which we shall find later, the most important for the bronze industry, one of the principal and most famous industries of the capital.

One sees displayed art objects, antique and modern subjects, of all dimensions; elegant candelabras, supported by two children in natural size, form the top of the display. Among the statuettes and groups, one will notice on a black and green marble clock, a seated figure representing Architecture, a model attributed to Michelangelo; next to Saint Sebastian, Judith, of an irreproachable execution; next to Judith, Admiral Chabot, half-reclining, whose original is in the Louvre.

On the second row, it is a tobacco jar that will especially attract the visitor's attention. It is moulded on an ivory pot, sculpted by Michelangelo. Further down, one can admire the group of Faust and Marguerite and the group of Romeo and Juliet, both by M. Cordier. The price of these two groups together is 700 fr.

The last row is occupied by a very elegant table service, in gilt bronze and crystal, commissioned by the former Russian ambassador to Paris, the Count of Kisselef and costing 50,000 fr.

On the left side of the trophy, we see a high bronze patinated chandelier, a hunting trophy, loaded with guns, dead game, and carnivorous, priced at 6,000 fr; and opposite this, a very beautiful basin bearing a chandelier, and whose base is formed by three children standing in natural size, valued at 11,000 francs and, in the middle, a gilded bronze and enamelled chandelier, with crystal balls in oriental style and imitated from the Alhambra.

The fourth trophy consists of clocks and optical instruments.

Mr. Wagner, clockmaker, occupies the right side of the trophy, with a large clock whose mechanism is up to date.

Connoisseurs will find in this room some very ingenious new arrangements to ensure the accuracy of the clock. A clock, next to it, with a painted iron wheel, represents a sample of the ordinary public clock. It was Mr. Wagner who popularised the use of iron instead of copper for clocks, which gives them great strength and an economy of 25%. A hanging clock moves two dials at the same time. In the annex we find the continuous motion clock of the same manufacturer, which won him the council medal at the London exhibition. Mr Garnier, the inventor of electric clocks, is next to it with a large clock and several small travel clocks of very fine workmanship. The large clock has a compensator, of M. Garnier's invention. We will find his electric clocks elsewhere. A first-rate lenticular lighthouse, commissioned by the United States government and exhibited by Henri Lepaute of Paris, Fresnel system, occupies the middle. It is the same as the government's (see this one), i.e. it presents successively a flash and an eclipse in ten seconds of time.

Another smaller lighthouse, by the same exhibitor, a caladioptric apparatus, is next to it; this one has a fixed light, varied by prolonged flashes.

On the left of the visitor, some optical instruments and the section of a locomotive, of a new system, invented by Mr. Laudet, engineer in Paris. This locomotive has no tender, and carries its own supply of water and coke for long distances. The boiler of this machine is of new application with flame return. Opposite is a model of a propeller boat, the Danube, belonging to the Messageries Impériales. A hidden mechanism drives the steam engine that turns the propeller. Every detail of the beautiful ship is reproduced with great accuracy.

A few steps further on, we find ourselves in front of the entrance to the lighthouse erected by the government in honour of Fresnel, whose bust is above the door with this inscription: Augustin Fresnel, inventor of lenticular lighthouses. Before going up, we should not forget to take a look at the two bronze ball players, which are in front of the door. These two statues are from the Naples museum, and were brought and exhibited by Mr Graux-Marly.

The lighthouse, intended for Belle-Ile and in which it is permitted to climb, is composed of eight lenses surrounded by ten prismatic rings. In the middle burns a moderator lamp, with six concentrated wicks, giving the light of twenty-five ordinary lamps; the flame is seven centimetres in diameter and burns 750 grams per hour. M. Fresnel established this lamp with M. Arago.

The apparatus turns on its axis in eight minutes.
Whenever the lens is in front of the lamp, there is a flash; in the intervals, there is an eclipse. This light is visible at an average distance of fifteen leagues. The outside of the lighthouse is decorated with figures representing different maritime nations, France, England, Holland, Norway, etc.

Returning to the trophies, we find ourselves before a large display case filled with French shawls of great beauty. The one in the middle, set in a frame, was made especially for this Exhibition. At the top we see the figure of France, holding a sword in one hand and an olive branch in the other, offering peace to the world, represented by a globe. An eagle with outstretched wings hovers below this globe; in the centre is the portrait of His Majesty the Emperor; the background is strewn with bees, and the corners are decorated with eagles.

The next trophy is that of the Imperial Navy, arranged under the direction of M. Cros, director of naval construction. It shows the main devices used on our ships. Two gigantic pieces form the centre, a 50 mm cannon, i.e. with a ball weighing 25 kg, and a howitzer cannon à la Paixhans! with a diameter of 11 cm at the orifice, launching a conical ball of 102 kg. These two pieces are with ; chamber and battery. The first is the largest calibre of the French navy to launch full balls ! All the accessories surround these pieces. The bottom is formed of weapons and utensils of vessel; one sees there grapins, sabres, axes, pikes, lanterns for the signals, flags, ensigns, flames, guidons, etc., and anchors.

Froment-Meurice is the inscription of the following trophy, one of the first goldsmiths and jewellers of Paris. The head of this house, M. Froment Meurice,
one of the most distinguished men in every respect, died a short time ago; but the objects exhibited were made under his direction.

Amongst all these objects of very varied composition and superior execution, one will notice a set of diamonds worth 85,000 fr, and another of diamonds and rubies worth 05,000 fr, as well as a bracelet of sapphires and diamonds worth 100,000 fr. One will notice, moreover, a cup whose pedestal is surrounded by four silver oxen. These oxen are portraits of the oxen that won prizes in the competition held every year in Poissy, the ox market for Paris. In the middle, and at the top, there is an agate cup belonging to Princess Mathilde. It represents Drunkenness, for on its foot stand three groups representing the Sad Wine, the Dreaming Wine and the Loving End. On the handle lies Reason, chained by small Lovers. The composition and execution of this piece leave nothing to be desired. On the left hand side and on the same plane is a triptych, in the German Gothic style. When closed, this triptych has four sides decorated with four bas-reliefs in repoussé silver, framed with foliage and branches that meet at the top and support a crown of thorns, topped by a cross. These bas-reliefs represent the main events in the life of Christ.

The other half of this display case shows us, among other things, two ornaments. One consists of a brooch, a bracelet, a pair of earrings and a necklace of carved diamonds and emeralds, valued at 110,000 fr. (£4,400). The other is of renaissance cameos on onyx, gade, agate, mounted in matt gold leaf, white and black enamels, pearls and rubies, valued at 15,000 fr. This set of a very happy effect, by the choice of cameos and the variety of colours, consists of a brooch, a necklace, a bracelet and a comb. Among the other objects of this part, one will notice, on the left hand, Leda with the Swan, after Pradier, in ivory. The swan is made of silver, and the ornaments of gold and gems. The value of this piece is 25,000 fr. A very nice portrait in miniature and on enamel of the Empress, decorates the middle of a plate, placed on a small shelf.

Opposite Froment-Meurice, an elegant cast-iron fountain spreads freshness through abundant water. The arithmometers of M. Thomas de Colmar are next to it. An elegant desk presents you with numbers and springs, and does the calculations with incredible speed and accuracy.

The ninth trophy bears the inscription Vieille-Montagne. This is the name of a limited company of zinc mines and foundries in Belgium, Rhine Prussia and France, with headquarters in Paris and Liege (Belgium).

The zinc bust of Emperor Napoleon III adorns the middle, and two statues in natural colour the two niches at the entrance. Everything else consists of specimens of the company's products, such as zinc sheets of all kinds, roofing sheets, spikes, round and square nails, etc. The equestrian statue of Emperor Napoleon III, which stands at the eastern entrance to the palace, is cast in zinc from this company, after the model by Mr. Debay which is on display at the Fine Arts Exhibition.

Opposite these zincs, two bronze groups of different sizes are presented to the visitor. The smaller one is a bronze reduction of the Amazon by M. Kiss, which was so much admired at the Crystal Palace in London, by M. Minoy of Paris. The other, a colossal group representing a horse in natural size, cast by Messrs. Eck and Durand.

Next to it, the exhibition of bronzes by M. Susse, the publisher of Pradier's works. Also, we see, in the middle, on the top, the Child with a Swan, and below, Sapho, reductions of Pradier's originals. Two soldiers from the time of Charles I, carrying candelabras and with a ravishing effect, guard the entrance to this pretty little collection, in which one will notice, on the left hand, the wrestlers after the antique, the Genius of the Hunt by Jean Debay, Atalanta by Pradier, and Phryne, which earned its author the medal of the Council at the London Exhibition. On the right hand side, the busts of Marshal Saint-Arnaud; of Pradier, Euterpe, and Venus de Milo and Diana, by Gabie, after the antique, etc.

The tenth trophy contains an up-to-date model of the great factory of the Châtillon and Commentry forges, in Montluçon. Around and above this miniature building are models of machines and tools used in the metal industry, some of which belong to the Conservatoire des arts et métiers. In addition, there are six-wheeled locomotives after Cuvelier, a turbine-fountain after Clair, a system in which the turbine raises a portion of the water which gives it the rotational movement; a crane, a machine for drilling and compressing strips of sheet metal, and finally a device for lifting wagons to dump the coal in the hold of a ship. At the top, we see the model of a very beautiful arch of a viaduct over the Rhône in Lyon (railway from Lyon to the Mediterranean), which will consist of five similar arches of equal opening.

The last trophy on the side we have just examined is that of "Mulhouse". Here we see beautiful furniture stars from this famous factory. Turning to the right, we find, between two showcases of large artificial flowers, one of which is French (M. Dutheis), and the other German, a whole singular display. These are vases, long candelabras capriciously pierced to the day, supporting baskets filled with natural flowers, under which are hidden the candle-holders, candelabras, and; of various forms and colours, some mat gold, others blue and red gold, then blue and pink gold; one sees near basins, mounted on pedestals, and especially an immense vase, decorated with paintings, all these objects are imitated from the decorations of the Alhambra of Granada, of M. Charles de Diebitsch. Everything is made of molten zinc, and a layer of copper has been applied to this zinc by electroplating.

We now come to the north side of the transept, occupied by France. The first trophy on this side is a salon organ by M. Cavaillé-Coll, of Paris, costing 12,000 francs, commissioned by Mme Viardot. Opposite it is a small collection of very remarkable bindings by Mr. Engelman, including a superb blue velvet missal covered with wooden sculptures. The second trophy consists of a picturesque group of musical instruments of Parisian manufacture, among which is a monster double bass, eight feet high, played by means of a mobile bridge; the bow itself is moved by a mechanism. It is to the ordinary double bass what the latter is to the cello. The brass instruments and bass drums form the sides, the pianos, Érard and Pleyel, at their head, occupy the lower part.

The next trophy is that of M. Plon, the Emperor's printer, who exhibits samples of typographical prints, among which are some beautiful proofs in oriental characters. Opposite, there are two superb court coats from Lyon, decorated with gold embroidery, of the most beautiful design and of a very remarkable execution. Next to them and on the right hand side are Sax instruments.

Huber brothers have exhibited a stone-cardboard mantelpiece surmounted by the bust of the Emperor: two candelabras, supported by life-size children, complete the decoration. Outside, other samples of stone-cardboard ornaments were placed; on the left, the frame of a mirror; on the right, bas-reliefs, etc.

War trophy. -The arrangement of this trophy was entrusted to Mr. Penguilly-Laridon, captain of artillery. The white weapons cover the back panel. One sees there the models of the principal weapons, in use today in the French army. The beams are formed with firearms; the first two with infantry and cavalry weapons; the third with cannons. We can see the newly invented musket of the cent-gardens, loaded by the breech. The model is due to the commander Freuil de Beaulieu. One also notices the breech-loading cavalry musket of Major Clerville, still in the experimental stage. The middle beam is formed by the cannon invented by Napoleon III. This gun is both a cannon and a howitzer, i.e. it also launches the shell or the ball. It replaces in the field and mountain armament four pieces, the eight-gun and twelve-gun, and the fifteen-gun and sixteen-gun howitzer. This system allowed the field artillery to have only one supply box instead of four. This simplification puts the artillery in a position to follow the evolutions of the cavalry, an advantage long desired and sought without solution. The emperor's cannon fires with remarkable accuracy; it proved itself in the days of the Alma and Inkermann. Along the panel are the two parts of a precision instrument called a pendulum gun, by means of which the velocity of the projectile in any firearm, gun or cannon, can be determined at the very moment the shot is fired. It serves to specify the relative force of different powders with the same tubes and projectiles. This instrument owes its current accuracy and precision to the experiments of General Morin.

M. Sécretan, optician of the emperor, 'has established in front of it a telescope of 24 centimetres (9 inches) of aperture; the focal distance is 4 metres (12 feet 4 inches); it is mounted parallactically for a northern latitude of 48° 50', working by means of a clock mechanism. Next to this telescope is a standard barometer, measuring atmospheric pressure to the nearest 1/100th of a millimetre, built for the meteorological observatory in Lisbon.

Continuing our tour, we find ourselves before the second trophy of Parisian industry. There are articles from twenty different houses and factories, representing fifteen industries. The middle is occupied by a solid silver toilet, composed of twenty-two pieces on a silvered bronze table by M. Audot. A large clock representing Sapho adorns the middle. Fans are arranged around it, and in front of them a charming biscuit group, representing a sparrow hawk destroying a nest of partridges. In the background, on the right, a shawl by M. Biétry commissioned for the Empress, who chose the designs herself.

M. Lemonier, crown jeweller, exhibited on the left a collection of jewels, among which the hat and epaulettes of the Prince of Brunswick are noteworthy. The epaulettes and the hat ornament are made entirely of diamonds. A brilliant of 42 karats forms the middle button of the hat; the other two large brilliants each weigh 20 karats. The three brilliants together represent a value of 100,000 fr. A set of white pearls, consisting of two headbands and a brooch, will also attract attention. The brooch bears the largest known white pearl pendant. Behind the jewellery are perfect artificial flowers and gloves from the House of Alexandre. The rest of the showcase is occupied by toilet boxes, bronzes, carved ivories, sachets, fake pearls, solid silver cigar holders, dolls, etc.

Luxury stationery is represented by wallets, blotters and other small leather goods. Two frames contain assortments of beautiful fancy papers.

Mr. Jeanselme occupies the next trophy. First, there is an oak gun cabinet with hunting attributes carved into the wood. Two dogs in natural size at the corners stand out for the quality of their execution. The piece of furniture cost 1,200 fr. and was bought by the Emperor. A large black wood sideboard, decorated with gilt bronze, occupies the middle; on the right, a renaissance style cupboard with marble inlay will attract attention.

The sofa (4,000 fr.), the armchair (2,000 fr.), and the chair (800 fr.), in carved and gilded wood, also come from M. Jeanselme, who has risen from the condition of a simple worker to that of one of the leading manufacturers in Paris, employing 300 workers.

The Tronchon factory, which manufactures those elegant wire chairs and benches that can be seen on the Champs-Élysées and inside the Palais, exhibited baskets, vases, kiosks and other garden ornaments opposite.

The trophy of M. Barbedienne which follows, contains art bronzes of this famous house, among which one will notice, at the bottom, a reproduction of the famous door of the Baptistry of Florence. On both sides of the door are tripods of great beauty after the antique; on the front, two statuettes after Michelangelo, one representing Moses, the other Lorenzo de Medici, priced at 1,100 and 800 francs; the Slave, also after Michelangelo (750 francs); at the back, the Penelope by Cavelier; ! Laocoon and other famous statues of antiquity, reduced according to the Collas process. Among the other objects, we will mention a very elegant perfume burner, in the Byzantine style, of very fine workmanship, and two amphorae, one of which, called a swallow amphora, is very remarkable for the finish of its workmanship, which is very difficult because of the small size of the bird. One will notice the fineness of the wing. The other is called Envy. A snake is wrapped around the branch that supports it, and another snake lies in the middle of the interior. These two amphorae are by M. Cahieux. On the ceiling, are suspended very elegant bronze and crystal chandeliers. At the back, one can see a crucifix also in bronze, an exact copy of the one by Hallegard, which adorned the chapel of Cardinal Fesch.

Opposite Barbedienne, there is an altar in white marble made by the Abbé Choyer of Angers. A bas-relief represents the homage of all the centuries to the Holy Virgin. People come from all sides, led by the Emperor Napoleon and the Pope. We remember that the Emperor sent the image of the Virgin to the French fleet in the Black Sea some time ago. It is this pious act that is recalled by the inscription: the Emperor to the Eastern fleet.

M. Tahan, the famous manufacturer of carved wooden boxes and jardinières, represents the cabinet making and fine tabletterie of Paris. An elegant bookcase made of Algerian cedar wood, richly carved and decorated, forms the back of the dressing room. On the right, in front of this bookcase, an elegant prie-dieu in oak wood, of a very pure style. To the left, a carved oak cupboard will catch the eye. The middle panel is covered with a wooden mosaic painting of a heron. The front is occupied by those elegant boxes which are the speciality and the glory of this house.

In front of this pavilion and in the middle of the transept is a very elegant aviary supported by contoured wooden legs, and filled with exotic birds which share the success with the aviary.

The glass and crystal factories of Baccarat, Saint-Louis, Clichy and Paris, make up the following trophy, with small muslin glasses, large red and gold, red and green bowls, long vases: The exquisite elegance of the forms is one of their main merits. Baccarat presents a superb crystal bowl; Saint-Louis, a crystal narghile, gold, red and white, then an enamelled bowl, a chest and two large bowls imitating agate, then finally three large vases with an opal base; Clichy, a dish with a lid, soft green, with four paintings in medallions.

But the most important pieces are: two colossal candelabra chandeliers (more than five metres high), from the Baccarat factory. The base of the candelabra is octagonal; each side is 50 centimetres wide, which gives the base a development of 4 metres. A sort of one-piece buttress, curved at the bottom and ending in serrated leaves at the top, supports the whole palm. The candle holders are made up of a bundle of branches of all shapes; they have a circumference of over five metres. The top is formed by a crystal plume that falls on all sides.

Opposite is a bronze statue by M. Ferrât, cast by M. Vittoz: the Fall of Icarus. Note that the entire statue rests on the top of the right wing.

Behind this statue is a small display containing statuettes, lamps, candelabras, vases, etc., of a metal composition which imitates bronze perfectly, and which makes these objects accessible to all classes by its modest price.

The Dutch pulpit against which this display is leaning is very remarkable; but what especially attracts the visitors is a small showcase surrounded by an iron fence, in the middle of which shines with all its lights the diamond known as the South Star. This precious stone was found by a slave in Brazil and weighed 254 carats in its raw state. It was cut in Amsterdam, and now weighs only 127 and a half carats; it is more considerable than the diamond called Kohinor which appeared at the London exhibition, and which has only 122 carats, but it is inferior to the Regent, whose weight rises to 136 carats. Its value is about 7 million. Mr. Halphen, who exhibits it, has placed below it a facsimile of this diamond in the rough, and other precious stones, as well as a tourmaline, a rough chrysolite, a crystallised topaz, a rough agate and several rough diamonds from Brazil.

M. Lefebure's laces, which won him the great London medal, occupy the next trophy. In the middle is a large shawl in black Alençon stitch, chosen by Her Majesty the Empress following a competition. On the left is a tunic dress with white Alençon ruffles, said to be intended for the Empress of France,
to the Empress of Austria; and on the right, an alb. At the bottom are two very elegant handkerchiefs, one made in Alençon, the other in Bayeux, both with the same stitch, so that one can compare their execution. On the right-hand side, there is a toilet made entirely of bobbin lace, and, on the opposite side, the imperial arms surrounded by flowers in Alençon stitch in relief, a new invention from Bayeux.

An altar has been placed opposite the lace, and behind this altar a small square has recently been formed, the middle of which is occupied by a very beautiful oblong bronze vase, exhibited by Messrs Ringuet Leprince. The walls are decorated with bas-reliefs after Clodion, representing Tritons and Naiads. On the right hand, M. Duvelleroy has placed his fans. The middle one offers portraits of the Queen of England, Prince Albert, and the royal family, painted in watercolour.

©Promenades dans l'exposition de 1855