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Great Britain - Expo Paris 1855

Missing picture

The whole of the rest of this south side of the palace, and the east side as far as the great middle door, is occupied by the United Kingdom of Great Britain.

The first square in the front, next to the Parisian furniture square we have just left, is that of Elkington, Mason and Co. of London. It is known that Mr. Elkington invented the process, imported into France by Mr. Christofle, of silvering by electricity, so the display cases in this room are filled with silverware silvered by this process. Amongst those on the west side, one will find, close to the door which opens on to the transept, a very richly ornamented candelabra in the Celtic style, the body of which is formed by a natural horn mounted in the open, belonging to the Queen of England; further on, a very fine group representing the last interview of the Duke of Warwick with his wife, another group on a marble pedestal showing the interview of Queen Henrietta with Prince Rupert after the battle of Edgehill, all of which are taken from the history of England. Three candelabras will still attract the visitor's attention; they are executed in the Greek style and represent the feast of Anacreon, sculptured by M. Jeannest. The refreshment buckets decorated with bas-reliefs, copied from those in Albani, were bought by Princess Mathilde. Among the table tops, some in solid silver are to be admired, one representing Eurichtonius, introducing the use of the horse to the Athenians; another the Tithe in Boston Abbey in the good old days; a third of great size, with two table ends, representing scenes from Shakespeare's comedies. All these objects are designed by Mr. Grant. The rest are goblets, vases, candelabras, dinner and dessert services, and other specimens of galvanic and chemical silvering. In the middle are some very fine bronze statues, namely "Dorothy from Don Quixote," "Eve's Daughter," and "The Young Naturalist," all three by the chisel of Mr. John Bell. In front of these statues is a small table of antique green marble, supported by an Amazon striking down a Jaguar. The corners of this compartment are adorned with busts of the Queen, Prince Albert, Robert Peel and Wellington.

The next room shows us some very fine samples of saddlery, and lamps for carriages and railways, gas appliances, steel nibs, papier-mâché objects, adorned with inlays, namely: dressing tables, inkwells, kits, boxes, etc. Further on, we see samples of Scottish woollen cloth, and, going up, on the right, inkwells, bells, lamps of very great solidity and good taste: on the left, Trowbridge cloth. Next to this square, as you go downstairs, is a large square containing the common china and pottery of Messrs. Copeland, Rose, and Danielle, of which we have seen the finest samples in the trophies of these gentlemen, which are at the head of this square. The city of Glasgow has exhibited in the same square its famous wares. The tinware of Sheffield, of which we have also seen the finest specimens in the trophy of that city, fills the next square, with the exhibition of the linen industry of Ireland.

We now propose to the visitor to walk up the north aisle to the English back square, which is set against the wall on the south side, and which lies behind the square of Messrs. Elkington, Mason and Co. Here he will see a fine collection of fireplaces and stoves of all kinds; he will especially notice Dr. Arnott's smoking fireplaces, i.e. fireplaces that burn their smoke; harness fittings and locksmith's wares. Amongst the stoves, the first cross-aisle is the register fireplace invented by Messrs. Benham and Sons of London, and the kitchen appliance of the same manufacturer, which won him the great medal at the London Exhibition. The great advantages of this apparatus consist in the small amount of fuel employed, in the possibility of enlarging or diminishing the fire at will, and in the peculiar construction of the oven for meat, bread, pastry, etc., which is heated without the aid of a furnace, and which can be removed in order to clean the pipes. The same fire also heats the hot water tank behind the chimney. These appliances are made in sizes ranging from 4 to 7 feet wide. Another example is the pyropneumatic stove, which is located at the front of the square we have just mentioned. This stove, of the invention of Mr. Pierce of London, has an open hearth, is made of burnt earth, without any mixture of iron, and consumes very little coal, according to the inventor, whom we are forced to take at his word.

Among the locks, we shall mention, opposite these stoves of which we have just spoken, the Albion lock invented by Mr. Holland. This lock is of 10 levers and has, according to the unclear indication of the inventor, 15, 168, 189, 140,000 changes. This number of changes (we are still copying from the inventor's poster) is ten times greater than the locks of fifteen levers could give, and at one minute per change, day and night, it would take 25,036,484 years of work. Further on we find bells, baths, bottle cleaning and corking machines, and models of Dr. Arnott's smoke stacks. The showcases around the square contain fabrics of all kinds from Halifax, and glassware from the famous Chance and Co. of Birmingham, where one will admire Crown-glass lenses of remarkable size and purity, two of which are 0.74 in diameter. Along the wall is a billiard table, surrounded by table tops, mantels, and other objects which appear to be of marble, but which are only of slate enamelled by a process invented by Mr. Magnas, and which imitates marble in a very remarkable manner.

To the side, and along the wall, are furniture of all kinds, beds, tables, sofas, etc. The next square is occupied by the porcelain and earthenware of Minton and Company in Staffordshire. Here we notice, in the display case on the right, a very elegant dessert service in porcelain and porcelain-marble (see Copeland). The four beautiful baskets in the corners represent the four Seasons, and the two candelabras with a Highlander in costume carrying a hunting trophy are very beautiful. These and ten other candelabras were made for the Queen's own use at Balmoral Castle. But the Queen, having learned how much these two candelabras pleased the French Emperor, hastened to offer them to him graciously. The other display cabinets are filled with porcelain services of all kinds and statuettes and groups, among which Cain and Abel, the Mother and Child, Diana and the Hunter are the most remarkable. The display cabinets on the opposite side contain, among others, imitations of old Sèvres, the model of the toilet given by Prince Albert to the Queen, and very beautiful tea services in Dubarry rose, and others. In the centre, we see imitations of majolica and other samples of English pottery which are very remarkable, of which we also find samples on all the staircases of the Palace. Let us mention again the beautiful majolica planter in the middle, filled with flowers, before moving on to the other porcelains in this room. These are those of Messrs Wedgood which follow, among which are pretty groups and statuettes, representing Isaac and Rebecca, the Birth of Moses, etc. But what attracts the attention of this collection are the imitations of Etruscan and other ancient vases, which are of rare beauty.

Mr. Morley, Mr. Eismore, Mr. Walker, and others, have also porcelains and earthenware of great beauty.

After examining the very remarkable collection of Sheffield steelwork, which enjoys a European reputation, the visitor arrives at the south-east corner of the Palace, where the common goods which are manufactured in Manchester, that is to say, cotton fabrics, are displayed on numerous counters. In the centre of this eastern side, where we are now, are models of the civil constructions of all kinds in England, viaducts, bridges, railways, swimming pools, etc. These include the docks and harbour at Sunderland, the tube bridge between England and Scotland, models of ships, a mobile prison, etc. Here one will also find the cartridges of Messrs Schlesinger, Wello and Co. of which they supplied 35 million to the Turkish government in a period of six months. Pianos and a large church organ in the back, and the serpentine marble and slate objects in the aisle leading from the east door to the transept, complete the English exhibition on the ground floor of the Palace. Among the latter, we see first the products of the London and Penzance serpentine Company, consisting of beautiful fireplaces, vases, obelisks, etc. Next come candelabras, table tops and other objects made of glass mosaic, marble and scagliola, by Mr. Slevens in London. Further on is a Gothic column of scagliola, by Mr. Dolan in Manchester. Close to the entrance door, finally, are placed the works of Mr. Magnus in London, among others a mantelpiece of inlaid slate, another imitating Verona marble, another imitating lapis, finally a slate bath imitating granite.

©Promenades dans l'exposition de 1855