Search the Collection
Advanced Search

The Great Exhibition of 1851

Date: c 1851
Overall: 420 x 580 mm, 0.2 kg
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Object Name: Lithograph
Object No: 00017830
Place Manufactured:United States

User Terms

    Lithograph titled 'The Great Exhibition of 1851' published by N Currier. The lithograph depicts the Great Exhibition held in London in 1851. The picture features a group of men, some American and some British standing in front of the Great Exhibition. In the picture, the Americans are boasting about winning a number of agricultural prizes at the Great Exhibition, while the British lament the American entries.
    SignificanceThis lithograph is important in highlighting advances in American agriculture and technology during the mid-nineteenth century. It emphasises the emergence of the United States as a leading industrial power during this period.
    HistoryThe Great Exhibition of 1851, which ran from 1 May to 15 October 1851, was an international exhibition held in Hyde Park, London. Over six million people visited the Exhibition. The Great Exhibition was housed in a specially designed glass house building, called The Crystal Palace which was more than 560 metres long. The architectural enormity of the Palace emphasised the importance of the Exhibition as the first international exhibition of arts and manufacturers. The Exhibition featured displays from a number of countries including the United States, France, Denmark and Switzerland and imperial colonies such as Australia, New Zealand and India. While the Great Exhibition provided a forum for each country to display their achievements, its overarching purpose was to display the technological superiority of Great Britain at the time.

    During the early years of its development as a nation, the United States had emulated and reproduced British inventions and technology. However by the mid-nineteenth century America's rise in political and economic power ensured it had become a contender as a leading industrial power. The American Pavilion at the Great Exhibition of 1851, which featured McCormick's reaper, Day and Newell's patent lock and Colt's revolver amongst others, presented a great number of improvements and innovation in agricultural machinery. In 1853 the Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations was held in New York which was designed to replicate the success of the Great Exhibition of London. It was designed to represent American national pride and showcase the new industrial achievements of the world.
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: THE GREAT EXHIBITION OF 1851

    Web title: The Great Exhibition of 1851

    Related People
    Lithographer: Nathaniel Currier

    Discuss this Object


    Please log in to add a comment.