Summary

View of the exhibit of J. Kitchen & Sons, candle manufacturers, in the Victorian Court in the central temporary annexe on the eastern side of the main avenue at the 1880 Melbourne International Exhibition held at the Exhibition Buildings, Carlton Gardens, between 1 October 1880 and 30 April 1881.

In addition to the main permanent Exhibition Building, two permanent annexes as well as a large, central wooden temporary annexe was constructed to house the courts of various countries, or to include larger items from countries already represented in the main Building. As well as their exhibits in the main Great Hall, the Victorian Courts made up a large proportion of the eastern side of the central temporary annexe.

The exhibit of J. Kitchen & Sons of Sandridge (now Port Melborune), of various wax figurines, candles, and busts of Queen Victoria and other members of the British Royal Family proved an incredibly attractive display, as the Argus newspaper observed:

'The case of Messrs. J. Kitchen and Sons is octagonal in shape, and exceedingly handsome and artistic in appearance. it is constructed of cedar and blackwood, has four projecting wings, and is crowned by four bannerets in crimson satin, fringed with gold. On the base an extensive assortment of stearine and paraffin candles is displayed with exquisite taste. Over 80 different kinds of candles are here shown, and they are arranged so as to form various designs. ... Messrs. Kitchen and Sons have constructed and arranged their trophy so artistically that they may be fairly complimented on having contributed one of the prettiest sights to the Exhibition.'

This is one of sixty-one photographs in a presentation photograph album titled '1880 Melbourne International Exhibition' presented to Thomas B. Hill. Hill was the Assistant Secretary of the 1880 Melbourne International Exhibition. This leather bound album was given to Hill, and all the Exhibition Commissioners, by the Exhibition Trustees. The photographer is believed to be Ludovico Hart, acting on a private commission from the Exhibition Trustees.

Description of Content

International Exhibition at Exhibition Building, Melbourne, 1880: interior view of the Kitchen & Co exhibit.

Physical Description

Monochrome, gold-toned, silver gelatin photograph in a black leather bound album with decorative gold tooled border and gold tooled lettering in centre of front cover. Inside, 61 monochrome photographic plates showing exterior and interior views of the 1880 International Exhibition, held at the Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne. Each photograph is mounted on heavy buff coloured card and has a simple black line border with a title beneath the photograph.

Significance

The Royal Exhibition Building has played an important role in Melbourne's social commercial and sporting life since it was built for the Melbourne International Exhibition in 1880. The building's size and scale provide us with a physical example of 'boom-time' Melbourne in 1880. The international exhibitions of the late 1800s provided the fledgling Australian colonies with a forum in which to showcase their progress in commerce and industry to the world. This album is significant for its detailed visual record of the first international exhibition held in Melbourne. It has clear views of the colonial & international courts, as well as specific prominent exhibits. It also provides a contemporary view of the Exhibition Building interior and exterior in the year it was constructed.

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