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The Art of Monarchy

A collaboration with BBC Radio 4 to mark Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

Claude-Marie Ferrier (1811-89)

Crystal Palace during The Great Exhibition, 1851: View of North West Corner of the Building 1851

RCIN 2800047

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At a meeting at Buckingham Palace in 1849, Prince Albert, as President of the Society of Arts, met with other interested parties and together they launched a scheme for the Great Exhibition, which they agreed should be in Hyde Park. This photograph shows the north-west corner of the building which housed the exhibition. Designed by Joseph Paxton, it became known as The Crystal Palace for it was made almost entirely of glass with a cast-iron frame. It was an innovative and massive construction, 564m long and 39m in height – high enough to accommodate several trees. The enormous success of the Great Exhibition of 1851 was to a great extent due to the tireless work and enthusiasm of Prince Albert, and it firmly established the Prince as a leading public figure.