There can be few exhibitions as well known and important as this. Synonymous with Art Nouvea but equally important for the Grand Beaux Arts buildings, historical revival national pavilions and extravagant use of electricity this is one of the key events in the history of Great Exhibitions and the development of the City. Leaving Paris with the Gare D’Orsay, the Pont Alexander III, Grand Palais and Petit Palais the city is still alive with the turn of the nineteenth/twentieth century.
The fifth in a series of Paris exhibitions held in 1855, 1867, 1878, 1889 and 1900 this event marks the end of the cities love of exhibitions, that is until the magnificent exhibition held in 1925 followed by 1931 and 1937. We can only wonder at what they might come up with if they could be persuaded to embrace the tradition and hold another exhibition …
Despite the profusion of Art Nouveau and Beaux Arts extravagance many of the national pavilions produced buildings of a purely historical revival nature. Above is the British Pavilion designed by a young Edwin Lutyens, it was a pastiche of a Jacobean mansion, loosely based on ‘The Hall’ in Bradford on Avon, and hardly progressive. It contained traditionally derived furnishings and seems to have generated little interest amongst visitors to the Exposition. Apparently, according to the British organizers it was an example of the most characteristic style of English domestic architecture. Surely a missed opportunity to showcase something new or novel and demonstrating a lack of confidence in contemporary Britain.
I wrote a blog about the Porte Monumentale as featured on a large blue and white transfer printed tile. Click on the image to see this post.