View from the eastern balcony over the French & German Courts in the Great Hall at the 1880 Melbourne International Exhibition held at the Exhibition Buildings, Carlton Gardens, between 1 October 1880 and 30 April 1881.

The French piano displays of Pleyel, Wolff & Company and Philippe Henri Herz can be seen extending westward along the eastern nave on the southern side, while the exhibits of Villeroy & Bosch in the Germany Court can be seen along the right of the photograph. Under the southern balcony area, and on the balcony level itself, can be seen examples of French decorative arts and sculpture, while works of art forming the British picture gallery in the northern balcony area can also be seen.

This is one of three photographs of the 1880 Melbourne International Exhibition acquired by Museum Victoria as a group in 2006. Although the photographer remains unidentified, in style and subject, the images share strikingly similarities to another group of twenty-six images of the Exhibition bound within a photograph album. All three images have a number in black pen written in the upper left corner, this being number '21', and the card backing board shows signs that perhaps these photographs have been removed from an album. Likely photographs include J.W. Lindt, Charles Nettleton, Nicholas Caire, or the official exhibition photographer, Ludovico Hart, commissioned by the Exhibition Trustees to produce a series of photographs that were subsequently bound into presentation albums.

Description of Content

Sepia print of a photograph of the German Section at the Melbourne International Exhibition of 1880-81, showing the interior of the Great Hall looking west, with flags, art works on the mezzanine, showcases on the floor of the Hall with displays of pianos and ceramics, and looking towards the organ and the choir stalls.

Physical Description

Sepia print of a photograph of the German Section at the Melbourne International Exhibition of 1880-81. The photograph has been pasted onto a cardboard backing and the title 'Melbourne Exhibition - German Section' has been carefully written in pencil at the base. The number '23' has been written in ink on the top left hand corner of the image. The photographs form part of a larger album on thick card pages, that has been split. There is no indication of the name of the photographer, but other images in the same series are in the album HT 1528 that was purchased by the Museum several years ago.


These are previously unknown images of the 1880 Melbourne International Exhibition, taken by an unknown photographer. The Museum already owns a number in this series, in the album HT 1528, and these were purchased to supplement the set. They provide additional detail about displays and interior decoration at the time, with great detail of the stage and choir stalls at the opening ceremony.

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