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Part of the Chine Court

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1851 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Absolon, John, born 1815 - died 1895 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Watercolour and gouache over pencil on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased with Art Fund support and assistance from the Friends of the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level H, case WD, shelf 215, box B

The Great Exhibition of 1851 took place at Hyde Park in a revolutionary glass and iron building known as the 'Crystal Palace'. It included over 13,000 exhibits and was the first international exhibition of manufactured products.

The exhibition attracted more than six million visitors, equivalent to a third of the population of Great Britain. This watercolour is from a group of images reproduced as colour lithographs in Recollections of the Great Exhibition, a lavish contemporary souvenir guide. The profits from the Great Exhibition were used to fund several science and art initiatives in South Kensington. They included what is now the Victoria and Albert Museum, whose earliest surviving building was erected in 1857.

This watercolour shows a view of the China Court. China did not respond to the invitation to submit work to the exhibition. As a result, the China Court comprised samples from the stock of a number of importers of Chinese goods. The principal of these was Hewett & Co. of Fenchurch Street.

Physical description

Watercolour drawing

Place of Origin

London (made)


1851 (made)


Absolon, John, born 1815 - died 1895 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Watercolour and gouache over pencil on paper


Height: 274 mm, Width: 374 mm

Descriptive line

Interior view of the Great Exhibition - 'Part of the China Court', by John Absolon, 1851

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Julius Bryant, ed. Art and Design for All. The Victoria and Albert Museum London: V&A Publishing, 2011. ISBN: 9781851776665.


Watercolour; Gouache; Paper


Watercolour drawing


Paintings; The Great Exhibition


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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