Presentation watercolour by Lloyd Tayler of his design for the Exhibition Building, painted in 1878.

The building represented in this watercolour marks a significant period in Melbourne's development as a cosmopolitan city, riding on the wave of the incredible wealth generated from gold. In 1880, to demonstrate its optimism, enthusiasm and energy, Melbourne hosted an International Exhibition. With the passing of the New Exhibition Bill in 1878, the Victorian government agreed to finance a new exhibition building. A public competition was held and in May 1878 the winner was announced. From a pool of 18 entries, Joseph Reed of Reed & Barnes architects took first prize (and £300 prize money); Lloyd Tayler, a very prominent architect in Melbourne (and Australia) at the time was awarded £200 for this second place entry (as a consolation prize he was also appointed an exhibition commissioner with a gold pass to the Melbourne International Exhibition); and the third place was awarded to Peter Matthews who received £100.

Though Tayler did not win the competition, this watercolour of his design in perspective elevation gives a vivid sense of the grandeur envisaged by supporters of the International Exhibition.

Physical Description

Large watercolour of a building in perspective elevation. In mount and gilded frame.

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