Tallis, John
Tallis's history and description of the Crystal Palace and the exhibition of the world's industry in 1851 (Band 1) — London, 1851

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are, and whom they enrich; here the man who is powerful in the weapons of peace,
capital and machinery, uses them to give comfort and enjoyment to the public, whose
servant he is, and thus becomes rich while he enriches others with his goods. If this
be truly the relation between the condition of the arts of life in this country and in
those others, may we not with reason and with gratitude say that we have, indeed,
reached a point beyond theirs in the social progress of nations ?"



It is not our intention, in threading our way through the inexhaustible variety of objects
presented to our view in the Crystal Palace, to attempt any scientific or classified
enumeration of its wonders. That herculean task has been already fully and ably executed
in the vast and voluminous catalogue, of which we are told, " that if the whole of the
earlier editions had been consigned, in one vertical column, to the bottom of the Pacific
Ocean (a computed depth of 6,000 feet), the present improved and corrected edition
would still form a lonely peak rising to the height of Chimborazo or Cotopaxi, exactly
18,000 feet above the level or the censure of the ordinary inhabitants of this earth."
Our time and limits, indeed, would not permit us to examine a tithe of what was spread
out before us; we shall, therefore, confine our remarks to the consideration of the most
useful, the most astonishing, the most ingenious, the most interesting, the most beau-
tiful. And in our discursive flights, we shall not profess to be bound by any rigid plan
of proceeding from first to last, as those unimpassioned visitors of an exhibition who
begin at No. 1., and never suffer their eyes to wander till they have coldly examined
every picture upon the walls, in the exact series and order in which they are enumerated
in the catalogue. We, on the contrary, shall stray through the gay parterre, at our own
free will, stopping only to examine and describe, as our captivated fancy may impel and
direct; through the vast embarras de rzckesse, we shall pass from one subject of interest
to another, " from grave to gay, from lively to severe," in the true spirit of liberty and
unrestrained enjoyment.

Having premised thus much, and feeling ourselves, for the present, somewhat over-
powered by the contemplation of all the Oriental magnificence, the "barbaric pearl and
gold," which formed the subject of our preceding chapter, we shall " let Euclid rest and
Archimedes pause," and suddenly removing, as with the touch of an enchanter's wand,
the scene we so lately beheld, transplant our readers to the halls of sculpture, and call
their attention, for a time, to the consideration of what the Plastic Art contributed
towards the embellishment of the world's great emporium of industry and talent.

It will be the business of our engraver, whose art has been put to its utmost stretch
of excellence, to compete with the elaborate and exquisite detail of the daguerreotype,
to present our readers, from time to time, besides the general views of the interior of
the building, with such specimens of individual talent among the numerous sculptors,
both British and foreign, who contributed their offerings, as our impartial judgment may
select, and which we shall accordingly forthwith proceed to describe.

In compliment to our foreign contributors, we shall commence with the colossal
group of the "Amazon attacked by a Tigress," by Kiss of Berlin, which was one of the
marvels of the Great Exhibition, and received more tributes of unqualified praise than
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