French No 1 stand at the Great Exhibition, Crystal Palace, London, 1851.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Illustrated plate taken from Dickinsons' 'Comprehensive Pictures of The Great Exhibition' (1854). Prominent objects on the first French stand included Lyons silks for curtains; books in the oriental languages from the National Printing Establishment of France; tisues for hangings, and furniture. The 'Great Exhibition of the Works of the Industry of all Nations' was conceived by Prince Albert (1819-1861). The Crystal Palace was purpose-built to house the exhibits. It was the first large-scale prefabricated ferrovitreous (iron and glas) structure, and was designed by Joseph Paxton (1801-1865). The prefabricated design made the construction, and later dismantling, easier and quicker.