The diffusion of models and promotion of trade
The Great Exhibition held in London in 1851 represented an unprecedented opportunity for European audiences to come into direct contact with a variety of Islamic art and compare artefacts. From then on, International Exhibitions played a key role, not just in disseminating works of non-European origin, but also in terms of kick-starting the production of artefacts and furniture inspired by the Arab world and the Ottoman Empire. The universal exhibitions offered ordinary visitors two remarkable experiences: first, it was a chance for those who had never travelled to faraway places to experience an exotic, fantastic world, which was made to feel absolutely “real” within the bazaars and the various national pavilions; and second, audiences were kept up to date with the trends in Orientalism by exhibits of the most sought after new craft and industrial products, displayed alongside the original artefacts intended for collectors. Deck and Maw ceramics, Castellani jewellery and Salviati glassware are only some of the numerous, well-known names exhibiting pieces at the time.
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Victoria and Albert Museum, London, United Kingdom
Owen Jones (designer)
Chromolithograph on paper
The English architect Owen Jones designed this menu card for a banquet commemorating the exhibition held in Paris in 1867. International Exhibitions played an important role in introducing ornamental styles from abroad; the design of this card echoes illuminated Persian manuscripts, which Jones included in his book The Grammar of Ornament.