View of the display of French bronzes by Blot & Drouard in the French Court's central temporary annexe display on the eastern side of the main avenue at the 1880 Melbourne International Exhibition held at the Exhibition Buildings, Carlton Gardens, between 1 October 1880 and 30 April 1881.

In addition to the main permanent Exhibition Building, two permanent annexes as well as a large, central wooden temporary annexe was constructed to house the courts of various countries, or to include larger items from countries already represented in the main Building.

The main avenue was the central corridor that extended through the temporary annexes, leading northwards from the main permament Exhibition Buildings. Many of the major European countries had their courts situated on the western side of the main avenue, while the eastern side included exhibits from smaller countries and from other Australian colonies. Like many other major European countries, France had a court in the main Exhibition Buildings, but a second, larger display area was also allocated in the main temporary annexe, between the additional displays areas given to Great Britain and Germany.

Two particular features of the French Court displays in the temporary annexe are well represented in this image. As the Argus newspaper commented, 'those of tapestry are likely to be amongst the first to attracrt the attention of visitors, inasmuch as several of them are hung up on the walls of the compartments'.

Likewise, the decorative bronzes, vases and works of art by the Parisian firm of Blot & Drouard were also highly commended. Exhibited under class 25, Bronzes and various Art Castings and Repouse Work, it was observed that 'the best collection in this class is probably that of French bronzes, or works of art in zinc, sent out by Messrs. Blot and Drouard, of Paris. It is composed of ornaments for the interior of houses made of case zinc and variously coloured. On the European continent, zinc is a material very much used for making casts of statues, statuettes, and different kinds of ornaments.'

This is one of sixty-one photographs in a presentation photograph album titled '1880 Melbourne International Exhibition' presented to Thomas B. Hill. Hill was the Assistant Secretary of the 1880 Melbourne International Exhibition. This leather bound album was given to Hill, and all the Exhibition Commissioners, by the Exhibition Trustees. The photographer is believed to be Ludovico Hart, acting on a private commission from the Exhibition Trustees.

Description of Content

International Exhibition at Exhibition Building, Melbourne, 1880: interior view showing French bronzes by Blot and Drouard, Paris.

Physical Description

Monochrome, gold-toned, silver gelatin photograph in a black leather bound album with decorative gold tooled border and gold tooled lettering in centre of front cover. Inside, 61 monochrome photographic plates showing exterior and interior views of the 1880 International Exhibition, held at the Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne. Each photograph is mounted on heavy buff coloured card and has a simple black line border with a title beneath the photograph.


The Royal Exhibition Building has played an important role in Melbourne's social commercial and sporting life since it was built for the Melbourne International Exhibition in 1880. The building's size and scale provide us with a physical example of 'boom-time' Melbourne in 1880. The international exhibitions of the late 1800s provided the fledgling Australian colonies with a forum in which to showcase their progress in commerce and industry to the world. This album is significant for its detailed visual record of the first international exhibition held in Melbourne. It has clear views of the colonial & international courts, as well as specific prominent exhibits. It also provides a contemporary view of the Exhibition Building interior and exterior in the year it was constructed.

More Information