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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)

The Great Exhibition, 1851: Musical instruments by Sax 1851

RCIN 2800045

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This cabinet, containing several new classes of wind instruments invented by M. Adolphe Sax, was just one among many thousands of exhibits displayed in the Great Exhibition of 1851.  The exhibition was an unparalleled success, so much so that the royal commissioners decided to mark its closure with the publication of a set of volumes for presentation to foreign governments and other selected recipients. There was to be no expense spared in their production, only the very best materials were to be used – and, for the purposes of illustration, it was decided to use photographs, an unprecedented choice. This photograph is one of the 154 images used in the four volumes entitled Reports by the Juries, which not only documented the exhibition, but also marked an important turning point in the history of photography.