'The Opening of the Great Hive of the World', 1 May 1851.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Etching satirising the Great Exhibition by George Cruikshank. The 'Great Exhibition of the Works of the Industry of all Nations', was an idea conceived by Prince Albert (1819-1861). The Crystal Palace was purpose-built to house more than 30,000 exhibits. It was designed by the landscape designer Joseph Paxton (1801-1865), and was the first large-scale prefabricated ferrovitreous (iron and glas) structure. After illustrating some children's books and songs, George Cruikshank made his name as a political caricaturist with 'The Scourge' (1811-1816) and 'The Meteor' (1813-1814). He went on to become one of the most well-known caricaturists of his age, and on his death was buried in St Paul's Cathedral, London.