Part of a stereodaguerreotype of statues in the Crystal Palace, c 1855.
© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
A stereoscopic daguerreotype showing the giant statues of Rameses II (1279-1213 BC) in the Crystal Palace, based on the originals carved from the rockface at Abu Simbel, Egypt, taken by Henry Negretti (d. 1879) and Joseph Warren Zambra (d. 1877), in about 1855. A popular feature of the Crystal Palace was a series of 'courts', each illustrating the art and architecture of a great period in history. The most spectacular of these was the Egyptian Court, complete with sphinxes and enormous statues. After housing the Great Exhibition in 1851 the Crystal Palace had been dismantled and rebuilt on a site at Sydenham, south east London, reopening in June 1854. The 'Palace of the People' as it became known, was at first a huge success as the world's first 'theme park'. However, in the twentieth century the Crystal Palace's popularity declined, failing to compete with newer forms of entertainment and recreation.