X
THE GREAT EXHIBITION

IN the parliamentary discussions about art and commerce national prestige and profit had been intermingling themes. Less explicitly, it was clear that if art could be shown to return sound trading dividends, then the Puritan conscience could be at rest from doubts as to its frivolity. Long before Parliament, however, an independent body, the Society of Arts, had been interesting itself in this sane and serious approach.1 Founded in 1754 'for the Encouragement of the Arts, Manufactures and Commerce of the Country', it had been prominently active in the second half of the eighteenth century, but had lately fallen on less energetic days, until in 1843 Prince Albert agreed to accept the presidency of the Society. This was followed by the grant of a Royal Charter in 1847. Some small exhibitions were organized and premiums offered for designs of a tea service and some beer mugs, which were won by an exhibit by Felix Summerly carried out by Herbert Minton. Felix Summerly was the pseudonym of a member of the Society, Henry Cole, a civil servant aged thirty-eight, whose restless industry had already found outlets editing railway charts with antiquarian notes; producing books for children, illustrated by Mulready, Horsley, Redgrave, Linnell, and others; publishing the first Christmas card (designed by Maclise); and securing the establishment of a docks at Grimsby.2 Inspired by the success of his tea service, he started a series of 'Art Manufactures' (an early use of the term) and also began with Redgrave the Journal of Design and Manufactures, which ran for only three years3 but was not without its importance at the time. Thanks largely to Cole's energy in approaching manufacturers, the Society's exhibitions of 1847 and

____________________
1
O. Hudson and K. W. Luckhurst, The Royal Society of Arts ( 1954).
2
Sir Henry Cole, Fifty Years of Public Work ( 2 vols. 1884).
3
1849 to 1852--6 vols.: its inserted patterns of fabrics are of first importance for the study of early Victorian textiles.

-254-

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English Art, 1800-1870
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • List of Plates ix
  • List of Figures xxi
  • Abbreviations xxiii
  • I- Romanticism 1
  • II- Painters in Water-Colour 29
  • III- The Regency Style 65
  • IV- Turner and Constable 97
  • V- Statuary 128
  • VI- The Age of Wilkie 149
  • VII- The Battle of the Styles 176
  • VIII- State Patronage 203
  • IX- Restoration and Revival 223
  • X- The Great Exhibition 254
  • XII- Memorials, Portraits, And Photography 299
  • Bibliography 321
  • Index 331
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