A History of the Nineteenth century in …Objects. Object 3. A medal commemorating the International Exhibition in 1862.

The Nineteenth Century

in … Objects

 

A series of postings of objects from PUNCS members, selected as representative, significant, or downright eccentric expressions of themes, topics and concerns related to the nineteenth century.

 

Object 3. A medal stamped in the International Exhibition of 1862

 

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Images © PUNCS, 2014.

 

Artefact Description

A silver or silver-plated coin, stamped in the International Exhibition building of 1862. 42 mm diameter; 4mm thick.

Reverse

In capital letters: ‘To the commemoration of his Late R.H. The Prince Consort Albert’

Profile of the Prince Consort by .

Obverse

‘International Exhibition 1862. Stamped in the Building.’

By H. Uhlhorn of Grevenbroich, Prussia. The image by J. Wiener.

 

Themes

International exhibitions; British monarchy; globalisation; design and industry; Anglo-German relations

 

Medals are a key way of commemorating events and personalities, and the artefact selected as Object 3 is a silver or silver-plated medal struck, within the exhibition building, as the inscription claims, during the international exhibition held in South Kensington in London from 1 May – 1 November 1862. The exhibition, on a site of 23 acres, attracted some six million visitors. It had been planned by the Society of Arts from 1858 – three years after the International Exhibition in Paris.

The medal depicts, on the reverse, one of the chief figures in the earlier international exhibition in Sydenham in 1851, which produced the wonders of the Crystal Palace. The Prince Consort, Albert of Saxe Coburg Gotha, is portrayed here by way of a memorial: he had died on 14 December  1861. The site of the exhibition also commemorated the Prince, as one of the roads was named after him (the others included Exhibition Road and, perhaps less happily for a monarchy, Cromwell Road).

The Crystal Palace was so named for its construction from prefabricated cast iron sections and glass. The larger structure designed by Captain Francis Fowke of the Royal Engineers – who had designed the Scottish Industrial Museum in Edinburgh – also featured cast iron made by the Thames Iron Works, but also made use of plain brick facades (it was intended to add decoration to what was conceived as a permanent structure – but the building had a short life).  This was to prove unpopular, with the comparison with 1851 in mind. It proved to be too dark inside. The structure was supposed to be dignified by two dodecagonal domes. Other medals struck to commemorate this exhibition included profiles of the building.

Interestingly, the medal proclaims its German origins: stamped by Heinrich Uhlhorn using a steam-powered machine designed by his father Dietrich Uhlhorn the engineer in 1817. Uhlhorn of Grevenbroich near Cologne, invented a press which could strike a coin every two minutes or one a minute, depending on the coin size.

The interior of the building forms the design on the obverse and was carved by Wiener: it is empty of objects.

The exhibition had been intended for 1861 but the Franco-Austrian war delayed it. German unification was to be completed in 1869: Heinrich Uhlhorn’s contributions to the Exhibition are recorded in the catalogue edited by the ‘Zollvereins-Governments’: those German states within the customs union of Zollverein which was soon to be abolished.

 

Further Reading

Primary

Via archive.org

Anon.,              Descriptive catalogue of a collection of the economic minerals of Canada, and of its crystalline rocks : sent to the London International Exhibition for 1862 – London International Exhibition (1862)

Anon.,              London International Exhibition, 1862: catalogue of the Vancouver contribution, with a short account of Vancouver Island and British Columbia

Anon.,              Catalogue of the photographs exhibited in Class XIV

 

Via Google books

A whole mass of material for study of the 1862 exhibiton is available via this collection:

 

Anon.,              ‘At the Great Exhibition‘, Cornhill Magazine, 1862, pp.665-681.

Anon.,              ‘International Exhibition, 1862. Pictures and Statues, British and Foreign’, Art Journal, 1 May 1862.

 

Anon.,              Illustrirter Katalog der Londoner Industrie-Ausstellung von 1862, Volume 2. An illustration of medals struck by Uhlhorn, including the medal featured here, appears at p.46.

Anon.,              Special Catalogue of the Zollverein-Department: London Exhibition 1862. Edited by Authority of the Commissioners of the Zollvereins-Governments, Together with Advertisements, Recommendations and Illustrations (R. Decker, 1862.)

Anon.,                          Official catalogue of the industrial department: International exhibition, 1862

Anon.,              Official Catalogue of the Fine Art Department: International Exhibition 1862

Anon.,              Illuminated guide to the International exhibition

Anon.,              Austria at the International Exhibition of 1862

Anon.,              Report … to … sir George Grey (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1863)

Anon.,              Report on International Exhibition of Industry and Art, London, 1862

Anon.,              Official Descriptive Catalogue: Prepared for the International Exhibition, 1862 R. Comitato Centrale Italiano per l’Esposizione Internazionale de Londra, 1862

Anon.,              International  exhibition, 1862. Refreshment departments. A catalogue of the first (second) portion of the important stock of F.E. Morrish & Co., the sole contractors, which will be sold by auction, by Messrs. Green & Son, Dec. 8th, 1862, and 14 subsequent days (Jan. 26th, 1863, and 13 subsequent days).

Anon.,                          Catalogo oficial: Exposición internacional de 1862 en Londres. Depart. español. International Exhibition of 1862, London. Span. Departm

Anon.,              Cassell’s Illustrated Exhibitor: Containing about Three Hundred Illustrations : with Letter-press Descriptions of All the Principal Objects in the International Exhibition of 1862

Anon.,              Medals and honourable mentions awarded by the international juries; with a list of jurors, and the report of the council of chairmen

Anon.,              The illustrated record of the International exhibition of the industrial arts and manufactures, and the fine arts … 1862, by T.P. Shaffner and W. Owen

Anon.,              Catalogue of the Russian Section: International Exhibition of 1862. With list of awards. Publ. by order of the Imperial Commission

Anon.,              A classified and descriptive catalogue of the Indian Department: The International Exhibition of 1862. By J. Forbes Watson, Volume 2

Anon.,              Ground plan and gallery plan of the International exhibition of 1862

Anon.,              A Plain Guide to the Exhibition: The Wonders of the Exhibition Showing how They May be Seen at One Visit

Anon.,              Official Catalogue of the Fine Art Department: Class 37. Architecture. Class 38. Paintings in Oil and Water Colours, and Drawings. Class 38 A. Art Designs for Manufactures. Class 39. Sculpture, Models, Die-sinking, and Intaglios. Class 40. Etchings and Engravings

Anon.,              Official Catalogue of the Mining and Metallurgical Products: Class I in the Zollverein Department of the International Exhibition 1862

Hunt, Robert   Companion to the official catalogue: Synopsis of a complete guide to the contents of the international exhibition of 1862

McDermott, Edward   The popular guide to the International exhibition of 1862

 

 

Secondary

Edwards, A.D.,                         The Role of International Exhibitions in Britain, 18501910: Perceptions of Economic Decline and the Technical Education Issue (Cambria Press, 2008)

Greenhalgh, P., Ephemeral Vistas: The Expositions Universelles, Great Exhibitions and World’s Fairs, 18511939 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1988)

Hoffenberg, P.H.,        An Empire on Display: English, Indian, and Australian Exhibitions from the Crystal Palace to the Great War (University of California Press, 2001)

 

Websites

‘The Exhibition Building of 1862’, Survey of London: volume 38: South Kensington Museums Area (1975), pp. 137-147. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=47522

 

For resources at the V&A

http://www.vam.ac.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/178660/Nineteenth-Century_International_Exhibitions.pdf

 

For an industrial focus, see

http://www.gracesguide.co.uk/1862_London_Exhibition

 

For stereoscopic photographs of the exhibition, see:

http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2005683767/

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

 

[ Michael Tongue published 3D Expo 1862: A Magic Journey to Victorian England ; 3D Photography at the International Exhibition of 1862 ; with Stereo Viewer in 2006 ]

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