This article publishes previously unknown documents revealing a plan to exhibit paintings at the British Great Exhibition of Works of Industry of All Nations in 1851, in a building especially designed for that purpose. Although the project was ultimately unsuccessful, as the French refused the funds to ship the work to London, its very existence places in a new light the traditional history which states that the French were the first to include all the fine arts in a Universal Exposition in 1855. The correspondence between Green, Prince and Company and the various French ministries shows that such a project had the support of the French artistic community but was opposed by the Government for economic reasons. The plan for the Picture Gallery, by an anonymous British architect, seems to suggest that while it was considered appropriate to house industry in a modern Crystal Palace, the fine arts were still considered part of tradition and thus were to be exhibited in a building whose design evoked the past through a pastiche of traditional styles.
- Copyright 1986 The Society of Architectural Historians