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Industrial exhibition of all nations.

[Great Britain?], [1851]
Physical Description:
1 set of puzzle blocks (60 pieces) : wood ; in wooden box 28 x 19 x 9 cm and 2 prints : lithographs ; each 27 x 36 cm
Rare Books and Manuscripts
GV1199 .I53 1851 Flat A
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
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Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
Three-Dimensional Artifacts
The puzzle set includes blocks for two puzzles, each divided into 30 wooden blocks. The wood blocks are 2 inches square, contained in the original stained mahogany box, the sliding lid of which bears the illustrated title label. The block sets are accompanied by two lithograph key plates mounted on linen. The assembled puzzles and key plates depict [1] a view of Hyde Park Corner at the moment Queen Victoria and Prince Albert arrive in their carriage to open the exhibition; and [2] a general view of the entrance looking towards the transept façade, showing the arrival of various personages in carriages, mounted or on foot, including a gentleman with a turban. The building is shown resplendent with the royal standard topping the central transept, indicating that the Queen is in "residence" and that the opening ceremony is about to begin. The other flags shown include those of France, Netherlands, German states and the United States. The maker of the blocks is unidentified, but probably British.
The bottom of the box bears the engraved label of "James Hutchison & Co." of Glasgow. The connection between the puzzle and the firm -- a manufacturer of muslin -- is unclear.
Also present in the YCBA copy (but not issued with the set) is a letter from Erasmus Saunders (1812-1872) to his wife Sophia concerning the opening of the Exhibition. Dated May 7, 1851, the letter describes his arrival and first visit to Exhibition: "The building is certainly very handsome, and its extreme length is broken & varied by the trees of the park so it does not look outré ..." Saunders further mentions the exhibits, the interior, the crush, and the generally overwhelming atmosphere. He makes note of "the statue of the Greek Slave by 'Power' [i.e. Hiram Powers] which fortunately for the Americans is there & redeems their performance in the Exhib." Saunders may have given the blocks to his daughter Emily Augusta Saunders for her 5th birthday on the October 10, 1851 -- the date appended to Saunders' autograph on the bottom of the box.
Subject Terms:
Albert, Prince Consort, consort of Victoria, Queen of Great Britain, 1819-1861.
Amusements -- Great Britain -- 19th century.
Block building (Children's activity)
Crystal Palace (Great Exhibition, 1851, London, England)
Exhibitions -- England -- London.
Great Britain -- Social life and customs -- 19th century.
Great Exhibition (1851 : London, England)
Powers, Hiram, 1805-1873. Greek slave.
Saunders, Erasmus, 1812-1872.
Saunders, Sophia.
Victoria, Queen of Great Britain, 1819-1901.
Building blocks.
Saunders, Erasmus, 1812-1872.

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