First of all the World's Fairs, the one held in London in 1851 amazed the public both by its exceptional building, the Crystal Palace, and by the multitude of creations displayed there. England, then master of the world, kept the greater part of the exhibition in order to display the wealth of its colonies.
Divided into four sections, the space of 8 hectares was then subdivided into national pavilions. Concerning the arts, the Exhibition of 1851 thus cohabited the oriental carpets of Tunis and the porcelains of Sèvres of France, a stuffed elephant from India and many neo-Gothic creations. Aiming no less than peace between all nations, guaranteed by the free movement of goods and the understanding of all civilizations, the spirit of this major event is a perfect illustration of the nineteenth century faith in industrial progress.
The event was beneficial to France, which was able to highlight the quality of its decorative arts. The toilette of the Duchess of Parme, exhibited by Froment-Meurice, and the reduction of Lorenzo Ghiberti's doors of paradise by the Barbedienne Foundry made a great impression, so that the next World's Fair took place in Paris in 1855.
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