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Second half of the Nineteenth Century



Attention has been taken of the success of the National Exhibition in Paris of 1849; in the same year the competition of our manufacturers at Birmingham gave an impetus ï to Industrial Art in England, and there was about this time a general forward movement, with a desire for an International Exhibition on a grand scale. Articles advocating such a step appeared in newspapers and periodicals of the time, and, after much difficulty, and many delays, a committee for the promotion of this object was formed. This resulted in the appointment of a Royal Commission, and the Prince Consort, as President of this Commission, took a keen personal interest in every arrangement for this great enterprise. Indeed, there can be no doubt that the success which crowned the work was, in a great measure, due to his taste, patience, and excellent business capacity. It is no part of our task to record all the details of an undertaking which, at the time, was a burning question of the day; still, as we cannot but look upon this Exhibition of 1851 as one of the landmarks in the history of furniture, it is worth while to record some particulars of its genesis and accomplishment.

A point has now been reached at which our task must be brought to its natural conclusion; for although many collectors and others interested in the subject, have invited the writer's attention to numerous descriptions and examples, from an examination of which much information could, without doubt, be obtained, still, the exigencies of a busy life, and the limits of a single volume of moderate dimensions, forbid the attempt to add to a story which, it is feared, may perhaps have already overtaxed the reader's patience.

As has already been suggested in the preface, this book is not intended to be a guide to " collecting," or " furnishing "; nevertheless, it is possible that, in the course of recording some of the changes which have taken place in designs and fashions, and of bringing into notice, here and there, the opinions of those who have thought and written upon the subject, some indirect assistance may have been given in both these directions. If this should be the case, and if an increased interest has been thereby excited in the surroundings of the Home, or in some of those Art collections - the work of bye-gone years - which form part of our National property, the writer's aim and object will have been attained, and his humble efforts amply rewarded.



















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