Tagged with Library history
The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations opened in Hyde Park, London, on 1st May 1851. It was spearheaded by Prince Albert and members of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (later the Royal Society of Arts), including Sir Henry Cole. The Crystal Palace - an incredible cast iron and glass structure, measuring 1848 feet long and 454 feet wide – was constructed in just nine months. The Great Exhibition was to be a ‘wonder of the world’ – a celebration of international industrial design and technology with exhibits from all corners of the earth. But, principally, it was to be a grandstand for Britain and for British manufacturing.
In the 17th century, books began to acquire frontispieces – an illustration, usually a full-page engraved plate, facing the title page. The frontispiece was often an exquisite work of art in its own right - but what was its purpose in the narrative?
Born in Mithian, St Agnes, Cornwall, John Opie (1761-1807) overcame his humble birth to become a Royal Academician and one of the foremost portraitists and landscape artists of his day. He was introduced to the London art world as a self-taught Rousseauian 'noble savage', raised in a ‘remote and secluded part of the island’, who rose to fame ‘unassisted by partial patronage’. However, little of this was true.
Beth Howell, our Saturday Events Coordinator, has been exploring the Institution's science collection for inspiration for astronomical making activities for our youngest members. Richard A. Proctor (1837-1888) was a lawyer turned astronomer who wrote a series of works on the planets. His investigation of the moon is illustrated with incredible photographs by Lewis Morris Rutherfurd (1816-1892) who also ditched law to study the heavens.