• The Crystal Palace, Hyde Park -
    Price on request

    Signed lower left: E. Walker/1850

    Watercolour over pencil heightened with bodycolour, with arched top

    31.8 by 95.4 cm., 12 by 37 in.


    This important watercolour, dated 1850, was drawn the year before the Great Exhibition opened on 1st May 1851. Joseph Paxton (1803-1865) won the commission to design the Crystal Palace on 15th July 1850 and the engineering firm Fox, Henderson & Co. were asked to build it, a feat they achieved in only nine months using over 5,000 workers. The building was eventually 1,848 feet (563 m.) long, 456 feet (139 m.) wide and 135 (41 m.) high. It included 900,000 square feet of glass which weighed nearly 400 tons.  At the close of the fair, the whole building was taken down and re-erected at Sydenham in South London with the area becoming known as Crystal Palace. It burnt down in 1936.


    Another version of this watercolour by Walker also dated 1850 is in the Victoria and Albert Museum. It was given to the museum by a descendant of Sir Charles Fox (1810-1874) of Fox Henderson & Co and the present watercolour is likely to have similar provenance. Given that this watercolour dates to 1850 before the completion of the Crystal Palace, Walker must have been working for either its engineers Fox Henderson or its designers Joseph Paxton.


    A view of the interior of the Great Exhibition by Walker is also in the V & A.


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