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Showcase Britain

Britain at the Vienna World Exhibition 1873


Christina Baird

Showcase Britain explores the diverse aspects of British participation in the Vienna World Exhibition (Weltausstellung) of 1873. The exhibition covered a vast spectrum of human endeavour and achievement. The British involvement encompassed not only the national submission but also the British individuals who visited and contributed to the displays.

The book offers a snapshot of British aspirations and commerce at a singular point in history through the lens of the exhibition. The central theme is explored through various perspectives: the ceramic collections, the Fine Art collections, British connections with China, the act of collecting, the visitor experience, and the mobility and re-use of collections, with particular reference to the display from India. The British submission is compared and contrasted throughout with that of the government of Japan, a newcomer to international shows, whose collections presented a competitor to Britain’s and a focus for British acquisition and emulation. Finally, the exhibition is viewed in the wider context of international exhibitions held in London in the following decade.

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A Short catalogue of the Contents of The Leitner Museum at Woking (The Oriental Institute Woking, 1901)

‘Abstract of a Lecture on the International Health Exhibition of 1884: It’s Influence and possible sequels delivered before the Society of Arts, Wednesday November 26th, 1884’, in British Medical Journal (6 December 1884)

Aitkin, W. C. Report presented to the Council of the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, on manufactures similar to those of Birmingham, represented in the Universal Exhibition, held at Vienna 1873, with remark on the necessity for the increased facilities in art education, museums of instruction, industrial scientific instruction etc., Birmingham Chamber of Commerce (Birmingham, 1873)

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