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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Switzerland

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The side of the vast square where one enters is occupied by boxes housing magnificent plumetis and crochet embroideries in the richest and most varied designs. Several designs represent subjects, such as the bust of Napoleon III emerging from the contours of the foliage of two trees; another represents an English and a French soldier holding hands; above, we see the arms of the gentle countries; a third shows us a huge courtyard of a Gothic cloister decorated with a fountain.

Continuing on, we reach the entrance to the northwestern staircase. On both sides of the door, there are several landscapes in relief which, at first sight, seem to be nothing more than toys: they are simply works of art in their own right. As you approach, you see that these landscapes are microscopic reliefs; the inventor, Mr. Vogelsang from Solothurn, presents visitors with magnifying glasses to examine the paintings in detail. The largest of the paintings on display is of the Hermitage of St. Verena near Solothurn, measuring about one and a half feet square, and is particularly noteworthy for its microscopic reproduction of rich vegetation and the harmony of the terrain, framed by imposing and picturesque rocks. On roses two rows high, small red dots can be seen which, when viewed with a magnifying glass, are centifolia roses, rosehips and other species of roses; each leaf can be analysed botanically; its veins, petioles and serrations can be distinguished. The short-stemmed gentian, the round-leaved bellflower, as well as the ranunculus, daisies and chrysanthemums sown on the lawn can also be clearly recognised on the rocks; the poplar, the cardinalina, the forget-me-not bordering the stream, as well as the strawberry tree with its flowers and fruits on the rocks, in the scrub and in the forest - let us also look at the hermit's garden, we can distinguish among other plants the gladiola, the tulip, the foxglove, the hyacinth. On the cliffs above, one could count 5,000 to 6,000 well-shaped leaves on a beech tree 18 lines high, as well as on the other trees and shrubs. Among the butterflies fluttering on the grass or fluttering on the flowers, the naturalist distinguishes a host of faithfully represented species. On the trees, there are sparrows, blackbirds, finches, beautiful peonies and squirrels. At the bottom, we see a number of human and animal figures. This relief, turned upside down and framed in an optical device, is magnified 30 to 50 times. This work, a real test of patience, is made of wood, silk and ivory, carved or cut out. Its author worked on it for seven years, and when one takes into consideration that this work is perhaps unique in its kind, one will not find the price of 15,000 fr. too high. Mr. Vogelsang exhibited two other reliefs made in the same way. One represents a plant garden with its trees, shrubs and different plants. One can see a grotto, a waterfall, the swimming pool, the fountain and the gardener's house; the garden rests on a stalactite base decorated with shells, corals, echyno-derms and beautiful minerals. The other relief shows the famous Monch and Eiger glaciers in their picturesque and grandiose reality.

Before continuing the examination of the Swiss exhibition, the visitor will examine the staircase pavilion, near which he is standing. The windows are adorned with painted stained glass windows, one of which is from Aachen in Prussia, others by M. Didron, in Paris, among which is The Child Christ in the Crib; others again by M. Laurent-Gsell in Paris, among which are The Education of the Virgin and The Adulterous Woman. On the landing of the staircase, on the right, there is a superb tinned mirror, 9 feet 7 inches high and framed in a magnificent gilded wood. In the middle of the vestibule is placed a continuous motion clock for the permanent demonstration of the rotation of the earth: M. Léon Foucault in Paris is the author. In front of it is a magnificent stuffed lion, exhibited by the Queen of England's fur house in Paris. This lion was killed by the famous lieutenant Gérard and cost 1,500 fr.

On entering the gallery and going up the room just mentioned, one sees on the right printed cotton fabrics from Zurich and furs from Lausanne. At the side of the room next to the Spanish exhibition, there is a pretty little chalet with a cut-out and a hole in the wall; it is placed between collections of rifles and pistols.

In the middle of the room and close to the chalet are well-built and inexpensive pianos. The adjacent square is occupied by display cabinets containing watch glasses, silkworms in all their transformations, cutlery, and blondes. In one of these showcases we notice two plates resembling engraved copper plates; one represents the Alhambra, the other the Crystal Palace of London. They are only imitations of intaglio made with very thin brass wires fixed in wood. The author, Mr. Knecht in Glarus, is offering 2,000 fr. to anyone who can make these objects exactly, in the same amount of time and with the same finesse. Finally, the same square also houses music boxes. The next square belongs to flour cloths, ribbons and music boxes, among which there is one that plays the overtures of Meyerbeer's Étoile du Nord and Auber's Marco Spada.

The square closest to the wall is that of the watchmaking industry in Geneva, Lausanne, Locle, Neuchâtel and La Chaux-de-Fonds. This is one of the main industries of Switzerland. One sees watches of all sizes, of all metals, decorated with fine stones or enamelled, decorated with portraits, guilloche landscapes, even maps of the globe. One must look especially at the marine chronometers and a watch decorated on the reverse with the Rutli oath, from Mr. Grandjean in Le Locle; the large Chinese watches from Messrs. Bovet frères in Fleurier; cameos, bracelets and watch brooches from Messrs. Mayer et Cie in Neuchâtel; a watch chain with a compass; two with enamelled portraits of the Emperor and Empress of the French; and finally, all kinds of timepieces. When one then returns to the door of the staircase and from there runs along the wall of the gallery, one encounters a series of boxes with plain or embroidered muslins; the back of the boxes is decorated with magnificent embroideries in white and colour, especially those of Mr. Altherr, Messrs Tanner and Kohler, and Messrs Alder and Mayer. The second box after the staircase contains a curtain depicting the apotheosis of Napoleon; that of the next box represents Napoleon crowned by Victory. The right side of the room, forming an angle with the wall we have just examined, still contains embroidery; in front of it are three elegant walnut pedestal tables, carved and decorated with coloured images.
Further on, a large display case contains the magnificent embroideries of M. Depierre in Lausanne, among others an embroidered handkerchief, the finest in the whole Exhibition, at a price of 1500 fr.; in addition, an oak prie-Dieu, covered with velvet and decorated with needlework in straw. The showcases on the other two sides of this room contain cotton and printed fabrics.

In the middle of the room there are four rows of showcases in a square pattern: the showcases facing the wall contain fine embroidery from St. Gallen and Appenzell, those on the right and left Bay ribbons and colonial fabrics from St. Gallen; the showcases on the opposite side of the wall contain wooden carvings: in addition to a large number of small chalets, fans, paper knives, figurines and statuettes, there is a cassette and a vase from M. Baumann in Brienz, a vase from the same town and a vase from the same town. In addition to a large number of small chalets, fans, paper knives, figurines and statuettes, there is a cassette and a vase by Mr. Baumann in Brienz, a carved walnut cassette by Mr. Michel in Brienz, and a magnificent carved vase by Mr. Fluck in Brienz. A long display case placed close to and in line with the carved wood display case contains straw braids from the canton of Aargau; these are trimmings for hats, fabrics, flowers and bouquets. Finally, the actual centre of this aisle is occupied by the silks, products of the numerous factories in the canton of Zurich.

When one moves forward from there to the gallery balustrade, one sees, in the front aisle, on the left, cotton fabrics from Aargau, and further on, in an enormous frame, an interesting collection of small engraved ivory high reliefs for clasps, engraved ivory paintings; among the latter, one depicts Queen Victoria on horseback; in addition, hair embroideries and some photographic prints; following the same aisle, on the right, one sees again colonnades from St. Gallen.

©Promenades dans l'exposition de 1855