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Monaco at the Exhibition Expo Paris 1878

Of modern architecture, with Moorish reminiscences, the pavilion of the Principality of Monaco, which rises in the park of the Champ-de-Mars, close to the Spanish pavilion, offers on the outside an aspect full of gaiety and brightness. A stone balustrade surrounds the building, and between this balustrade and the pavilion a garden has been planted, a true Monegasque garden where palm trees, olive trees, laurels, etc., sway their exotic branches with pleasure.

This pavilion is preceded on the façade by a Moorish-style porch-perandah under which the entrance doors open; the general decoration is polychrome; the roof is surmounted by a glass belvedere.

In the centre of the vast room where Ton enters, after crossing the threshold of this charming little palace, a Moorish fountain is dug into the ground, elegantly decorated with painted tiles on its flat edges, from which several jets of water spout out, spreading a pleasant coolness all around - in summer - and over which the leaves of a gigantic palm tree fall gracefully. Coloured stained glass windows occasionally soften the sun's rays, allowing only a soft, veiled light to penetrate the interior, which is very favourable to the objects on display.

Looking up at the upper part of the wall on the left, one sees first of all a beautiful portrait of the mother of the present reigning prince; then, all around, the complete series of the princes of Monaco, from Grimaldi I to Prince Charles III, portraits executed in terracotta on a blue background and surrounded by frames with heraldic ornaments, also in terracotta, of perfect execution. Only the portrait of the princess is painted in oil.

The exhibition of the principality, gathered in this pavilion, is composed first of all of agricultural products, magnificent cereals, olives with the oils that the industry draws from them, preserved fruits, essences and perfumes extracted from the flowers of this privileged country; then there are objects of fantasy or ornament in olive wood curiously worked, sculpted and inlaid with great art, and sculpted ivories. Monegasque artists excel in ivory carving. We note several frames and various articles of this kind which are true masterpieces, ivory plaques with flowers sculpted in low relief, deeply carved, which are marvels of delicacy and finish.

But it is especially in ceramics that Monaco triumphs. There are vases, drinking bowls, plates, statuettes of an elegance of form and a brilliance of colour that it is hardly possible to surpass. The ornamental motifs of the vases are generally flowers and fruits modelled in high relief, in garlands, in bouquets, or isolated, but always with a warm colouring that suits the fruits and flowers of these heavenly lands.

Finally, a beautiful model of the cathedral of Monaco.

Most of the objects exhibited belong to the Société industrielle et artistique de Monaco, to whose efforts the organisation of this beautiful exhibition is almost entirely due.

©L'Exposition Universelle 1878