View from the eastern balcony over the German and British 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.
While the official plans for the exhibition show Germany having been allocated various court space in at least three different areas, the German commissioner would complain in a letter to Melbourne's press that lack of coordination between London and Australia in the early planning stages meant that German exhibits were spread across no less than eight locations around the exhibition buildings.
The German Court in the Great Hall was situated in the eastern nave in the far north-east corner, next to the British Court and opposite the courts of France and Italy on the opposing southern wall of the nave. This portion of the German courts housed the fine Meissen porcelain and exhibits by Villeroy & Boch, clearly visible in the foreground of this photograph, while the British exhibits of similar material can be seen further along the nave towards the dome. In the northern balcony area of the nave, above the ground floor courts of the two countries, can be seen the British fine art exhibits.
This is one of seventy-six photographs in a photograph album. Twenty-six photographs are of the 1880 Melbourne International Exhibition. The photographs provide us with important visual evidence about the gardens around the Exhibition Building, and interior exhibits, including detailed images of the British Art Court, the ceramic and pottery exhibits in the Main Hall, and the appearance of the Avenue of Nations. The photographs are taken from glass plates and retain an excellent level of clarity and detail.
The album also contains a number of photographs in the 'Frith's Series', taken by British photographer Francis Frith, or members of his staff, of Gibraltar, and villages and towns in Britain.
Description of Content
International Exhibition, Melbourne, 1880. Interior view of the Exhibition Building showing the German and British Courts with their exhibits of decorative arts and domestic ware in the Great Hall. The British fine art displays in the balcony area of the eastern nave are also visible.
Albumen photograph mounted on buff-coloured card in red, cloth-covered, photograph album with decorative gold tooled border and gold tooled lettering in centre of front cover.
Part of photograph album containing a number of previously-unknown images documenting displays in the 1880 Melbourne International Exhibition in the Exhibition Building.
The images give visual evidence about the products displayed, the display techniques used, and the interior and exterior of the Exhibition Building in 1880, and as such, are a valuable addition to the collection of graphic and other material relating to the history of the Royal Exhibition Building.
The Melbourne International Exhibition of 1880 was the first event held in the new Exhibition Building. It showcased recent inventions, art and design trends to the Melbourne public, and allowed Victorians to promote themselves and their industry and achievements to a national and international audience. The exhibition attracted over a million visitors, and ran for several months. Its long-term results were changes in Melburnian's domestic tastes, increased trading opportunities with Europe, and a growth in Australian pride and national feeling.
See 'Notes' for information about the names of possible photographers who may have taken these images.
The album also contains a number of photographs in the 'Frith's Series', taken by British photographer Francis Frith (1822 - 1898) or members of his staff, of Gibraltar, and villages and towns in Britain. There are also large-format images and are of value for the Museum's 'History of Photography' collection. It appears as if Frith did not visit Australia; and the photographs of the Exhibition do not bear any signature from his company.
Place & Date Depicted
Written inside the front cover of album: 'W.W.Scott/ c/o Horticultural Press/ 78A Victoria Street/ Melbourne C1/ Box 1944/ Phone F2656/ [illegible]; Sold by G.W.Harris, Donolly Victoria.'
Type of item
Image Dimensions - Photograph
195 mm (Width), 125 mm (Height)
Dimensions of photograph only
Image Dimensions - Photograph
280 mm (Width), 360 mm (Height)
Overall dimensions of album page
Art, Art Exhibitions, Buildings, Civic Mementoes, Exhibitions, Exhibitions: Melbourne International, 1880-1881, Exterior Views, Gardens, Keepsakes, Photography, Public Ceremonies, Royal Exhibition Building