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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OF THE WORLD'S INDUSTRY. 8]

and certainly the articles exhibited had a wonderful resemblance to ice, the thing
intended to be represented. A curious feature in this collection was what the manu-
facturer called the Koh-i-Noor/' consisting of several lumps of the purest flint glass, cut
diamond-wise, and quite rivalling in brilliancy the' two million' original down stairs. We
are certain that if the largest of these specimens had been placed on the velvet cushion,
surrounded by an iron railing, and attended by a reverential policeman, it would have
received a much.larger meed of public wonder and approbation than the real eastern
gem. As a specimen, however, of the purest and most beautifully cut flint glass> it
afforded an excellent opportunity for observing the difference between that material and
the true diamond. It had the advantage of the gem in entire absence of colour, and
produced the prismatic changes with nearly equal effect. But it was deficient in specific
gravity, and in that wondrous power of radiating light which gives to the diamond
its value, and is its unique peculiarity. The mode of cutting these specimens proved
the workmen to be first-rate lapidaries. The other prominent feature in this collection
was a magnificent centre chandelier in highly refractive cut glass, which glittered like
the valley of diamonds. It was of graceful and original design, and the purity of the
glass might at once be detected by contrast with other specimens in the neighbour-
hood. This magnificent ornament was 24 feet high, and adapted for 80 lights. It was
a prominent feature in the Exhibition, being easily seen from the nave below, and reflect-
ing the sun's rays (on fine days) with extraordinary brilliancy. There were other
chandeliers in coloured glass, in what the manufacturer pleased to call the Alham-
braic style; but the taste of these was questionable, at least in our opinion, and
rather marred the effect of the chandeliers, which were constructed solely with a view
to prismatic effects. The remainder of the collection consisted of Etruscan vases
ornamented with fine and delicate engraving, some carved incrustations, and numerous
articles of lesser importance, but all affording ample reward for a lengthened inspection..
Bacchus (Birmingham) appropriately employed himself in the fabrication of wine-cups,,
glasses, and decanters, in coloured and cased glass. The collection was not large,
but well designed and executed. A flower-stand, with vase and cornucopia, had a. very
pretty effect. The delicate twisted stems of the champagne glasses were navel and
chaste, but we fear for their continuity after the third " fire." Harris and Son, of
Birmingham, exhibited a large collection of coloured glass, adapted to the various uses
of the table. Fine effects of colour were here produced, and many of the shapes
possessed novelty and grace. The articles exhibited by these and other manufacturers
in coloured glass would seem to intimate that the Bohemians are not long to enjoy their
monopoly. Specimens of the beautiful silvered glass lately become so fashionable, and
which has formed so ornamental a feature at various public banquets, were exhibited
by Messrs. Varnish, of Berners-street. The silvered globes were already familial* to
the public, but there were various other articles, such as a chess-table, goblets, curtain-
poles, &c, which showed the great adaptability of the material to ornamental purposes.
Perry and Co. (New Bond-street), had an immense chandelier for 144 candles, of most
elaborate workmanship. The design, however, is rather confused, and the quality of the
glass does not appear so pure as is the case with Mr. Pellat's chandeliers. Perhaps it
wanted cleaning, as the intricacy of the pattern afforded innumerable receptacles for
dust; but, whatever may be the cause, it looked rather dull-beside its'more brilliant
neighbours. There were various smaller collections of glass, among which good taste
and good workmanship were generally discernible, There was not, however, sufficient
variety to require particular notice. Messrs. Chance and Co., who supplied the glass for
the Exhibition building, were also exhibitors of an article which, until the removal of
the duty, was scarcely ever attempted in this country. One of the specimens of dioptric
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