A fine Victorian silver Aide Memoire, the two silver covers chased and embossed with foliate scroll work, the cover with a raised scene depicting the Crystal Palace. Almost certainly made to commemorate the Great Exhibition of 1851. The red leather and silk lined interior complete with five ivory pages named with days of the week (excluding Sunday), the whole held together with a silver Propelling Pencil (stamped: Mordan & Co).
By Cronin & Wheeler, Birmingham, 1850
In very fine original condition, with no damage to the silver covers and complete with all five ivory pages and original silk lining. Slight damage to one of the leather pencil retaining loops. The Mordan and Co Propelling Pencil may not be original but fits perfectly.
Something like 6 million people visited the exhibition (a thirds of Britain’s population at the time) – they had never seen the like and Charlotte Bronte describe the awe felt by many in a letter: ‘Yesterday I went for the second time to the Crystal Palace... It is wonderful place – vast, strange, new and impossible to describe. Its grandeur does not consist of one thing, but in the unique assemblage of all things. Whatever human industry has created you find there, from the great compartments filled with railway engines and boilers, with mill machinery in full work, with splendid carriages, with harness of every description, to the glass covered and velvet spread stands loaded with the most gorgeous work of the Goldsmith & Silversmith, and the carefully guarded caskets full of real diamonds and pearls worth hundred of thousands of pounds. It seems as if only magic could have gathered this mass of wealth from all the ends of the earth – as if none but super natural hands could have arranged it thus, with such a blaze and contrast of colours and marvellous power of effect. The multitude filling the great aisles seems ruled and subdued by some invisible influence. Amongst the thirty thousand souls that peopled it the day I was there not one loud noise was to be heard, not one irregular movement seen: the living tide rolls on quietly with a deep hum like the sea heard from the distance.
Although items could not be bought at the Exhibition itself, there was an emporium specially open on Regents Street for the purpose and memorabilia must also have been available from other outlets. Vinaigrettes and Card Cases were also produced by a number of Birmingham firms before the Exhibition opened, showing similar views of Crystal Palace.