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Prince Albert used photography to document exhibitions and works of art

Hugh Owen (1808-97)

The Great Exhibition, 1851: Panel from the Alhambra, Spain 1851

Salted paper print | 16.5 x 21.4 cm (image) | RCIN 2800088

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Photograph of a highly decorated plaster panel, square in shape, with a central scene and an outer border with some fretwork in between. The central panel contains a triple gate under arches supported by columns while the outer border has Arabic inscriptions in relief. The panel was part of exhibits from Spain in the Great Exhibition.

This photograph is from Volume III (RCIN 2800002) of ' Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations, 1851: Reports by the Juries on the Subjects in the Thirty Classes into which the Exhibition was Divided'. The incredibly successful Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations, commonly known as the Great Exhibition, ran from May to October 1851. At the exhibition's conclusion, over 100 copies of the four volume 'Reports by the Juries' were distributed to foreign governments and notable participants. The reports consist of the juries' comments and assessments of the works displayed in the exhibition. The idea and decision to illustrate the reports with photographs is attributed to Prince Albert (1819-61).