View of the French sculpture exhibits and original fountain in the eastern forecourt of the Exhibition Buildings, Carlton Gardens, between 1 October 1880 and 30 April 1881. Although it is unclear when the fountain was removed, photographs showing the eastern forecourt in the early twentieth century already reveal that the fountain had been replaced by the current design, manufactured by Antoine Durenne.

In the right foreground stands an 'imitation bronze' cast of Alfred Jacquemart's 'Hunter and Dogs', the exhibitor's name - the Societe du Val d'Osne - mounted on a plaque on the stone plinth. 'Imitation bronze' was a technique of casting iron and then coating the surface with copper through electrolysis. The copper would develop a green patina over time, giving the appearance of a bronze casting. Val d'Osne were responsible for the casting of many of Jacquemart's sculpture works produced for commercial realease, and their exhibit included numerous cast sculptural works in the gardens around the fountain, many of which can be seen in this photograph. They were awarded a First Order of Merit for their work.

This is one of seventy-six photographs in a photograph album. Twenty-six photographs are of the 1880 Melbourne International Exhibition. The photographs provide us with important visual evidence about the gardens around the Exhibition Building, and interior exhibits, including detailed images of the British Art Court, the ceramic and pottery exhibits in the Main Hall, and the appearance of the Avenue of Nations. The photographs are taken from glass plates and retain an excellent level of clarity and detail.

The album also contains a number of photographs in the 'Frith's Series', taken by British photographer Francis Frith, or members of his staff, of Gibraltar, and villages and towns in Britain.

Description of Content

International Exhibition, Melbourne, 1880. Exterior view of the Exhibition Building from Nicholson Street, with French fountain and eastern forecourt garden beds.

Physical Description

Albumen photograph mounted on buff-coloured card in red, cloth-covered, photograph album with decorative gold tooled border and gold tooled lettering in centre of front cover.


Part of photograph album containing a number of previously-unknown images documenting displays in the 1880 Melbourne International Exhibition in the Exhibition Building.

The images give visual evidence about the products displayed, the display techniques used, and the interior and exterior of the Exhibition Building in 1880, and as such, are a valuable addition to the collection of graphic and other material relating to the history of the Royal Exhibition Building.

The Melbourne International Exhibition of 1880 was the first event held in the new Exhibition Building. It showcased recent inventions, art and design trends to the Melbourne public, and allowed Victorians to promote themselves and their industry and achievements to a national and international audience. The exhibition attracted over a million visitors, and ran for several months. Its long-term results were changes in Melburnian's domestic tastes, increased trading opportunities with Europe, and a growth in Australian pride and national feeling.

See 'Notes' for information about the names of possible photographers who may have taken these images.

The album also contains a number of photographs in the 'Frith's Series', taken by British photographer Francis Frith (1822 - 1898) or members of his staff, of Gibraltar, and villages and towns in Britain. There are also large-format images and are of value for the Museum's 'History of Photography' collection. It appears as if Frith did not visit Australia; and the photographs of the Exhibition do not bear any signature from his company.

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