The Same but Different!
Over the years Bill Tonkin has entertained us with his detailed look at the picture postcard publishers and their methods of hoodwinking the public by doctoring views, adding people or changing titles in order to have cards ready for the opening of various exhibitions. It is in this tradition that I have looked in some detail into the Guides for the Crystal Palace by the well known publisher “Photochrom”, This company was also well known for it’s prolific publication of picture postcards, many of the views listed were also published as postcards.
As far as it is known, Photochrom first published the Crystal Palace Guide in 1920 for the Imperial War Exhibition. This guide has card covers, with the contents being bound with blue cord. The colour of the card is brown with dark brown printing. It is unpaginated and contains twelve photographic views of the Crystal Palace and the War Exhibition. The cover illustration is an artist drawn picture featuring, on the right side:- A youth in a draped cloth playing a flute or a penny-whistle, he is leaning against a background of shrubs and a large urn. The centre is a view of the Crystal Palace showing the Central and South Transepts and the South Tower. On the left side are:- from the top, musical instruments, a lyre, a trumpet and a French horn. Below these is a Theatre Mask hanging on a draped Union Jack, below the flag is a soldier’s helmet and rifle. “CRYSTAL PALACE” is in a large banner over the central view with “& IMPERIAL WAR EXHIBITION” in a smaller banner underneath. The photographic views are mounted on dark grey card, (the note in brackets is a fuller explanation of the subject matter). The size of the guide is 9.625ins wide x 7.5ins high.
Where a postcard is known of the view, it is marked by an *. The other views were not issued as postcards although postcards were issued by Photochrom of similar views of the same topic.
CRYSTAL PALACE, VIEW FROM THE TERRACE.*
CRYSTAL PALACE, VIEW FROM S.W.*
CRYSTAL PALACE, THE NORTH NAVE. .(View showing guns and flags).
CRYSTAL PALACE, VIEW FROM THE CLOCK. (View showing aircraft in foreground with parachutes and flags hanging .from the roof).
CRYSTAL PALACE FROM S.E.*
CRYSTAL PALACE, THE BIG GUN.
AERIAL VIEW OF CRYSTAL PALACE.*
CRYSTAL PALACE, GENERAL VIEW.*
CRYSTAL PALACE, THE FAMOUS GLASS FOUNTAIN. (Parachutes and flags also on show).
CRYSTAL PALACE, MAIN TRANSEPT (With guns and flags on show)
CRYSTAL PALACE, AIRCRAFT SECTION.
CRYSTAL PALACE, TYPES OF AIRCRAFT.
Now it would seem that Photochrom had the contract with the Crystal Palace Trustees for publishing the guide for at least the next ten years and possibly longer.
The 1924 Guide to the Crystal Palace.
The cover design was similar to that of the 1920 Imperial War Exhibition except that it had 24 printed pages of text and 16 pages of black & white photographs, the cover is glued to the contents. The cover illustration is identical to that of the one published in 1920 except that the smaller banner is empty, and “ONE SHILLING” is added at the bottom right. The size of the 1924 to 1930 guides is:- 9ins. wide x 7ins. high.
The photographic views are printed on glossy paper and are in the following order, where postcards are known, this is indicated by an *.
Facing Page 4. CRYSTAL PALACE FROM S.W.*
Facing Page 5. CRYSTAL FOUNTAIN & BIG CLOCK 40FT DIAMETER, CENTRE
TRANSEPT SOUTH NAVE.*
Facing Page 8. CRYSTAL PALACE, VIEW FROM TERRACE.*
Back of the above view, THE NORTH NAVE.*
Facing the above view, AERIAL VIEW OF CRYSTAL PALACE.*
Facing Page 9. ENGLISH MEDIAEVAL COURT*/ALHAMBRA COURT
Facing Page 12. CRYSTAL PALACE, GENERAL VIEW.*
Back of the above view, COLUMNS OF THE TEMPLE OF KARNAK, EGYPTIAN COURT.* Facing the above view, CRYSTAL PALACE FROM S.E.*
Facing Page 13. GIANT FIGURES OF RAMESES, THE EGYPTIAN COURT.*
Facing Page 16. CRYSTAL PALACE, BOATING LAKE.*
Back of above view, COURT OF LIONS IN THE TRIBUNAL OF JUSTICE. THE
Facing the above view, CRYSTAL PALACE FROM THE PARADE.*
Facing Page 17, INTERIOR OF THE RENAISSANCE COURT IN THE NORTH
Facing Page 20, THE MEGALOSAURUS IN THE ANIMAL PARK.
Facing Page 21, (a composite of four views) “PREHISTORIC ANIMALS. IN THE ANIMAL PARK. POPULAR AMUSEMENTS IN THE GROUNDS.
THE CAPTIVE FLYING MACHINE.
The 1925 Guide to the Crystal Palace.
The 1925 Guide was identical in cover and contents as the 1924 version except the colour of the cover is sepia/grey and with sepia-tone photographs.
The 1930 Guide to the Crystal Palace.
The June 1930 Crystal Palace Guide is where things begin to get interesting! The cover illustration and method of binding is the same as the 1924/5 versions. The colour .of the cover is now blue. Still ONE SHILLING. “1930” is in a scroll on the back cover. There are now 44 printed pages, the text has generally been revised and sections added to list the Sculptures on show at the Crystal Palace. All the views are in sepia-tone on glossy paper, some new photographs have been added, with some glaring mistakes in the previous guide captions is now corrected!
Facing Page 4. CRYSTAL PALACE FROM S.E.* (This is the same view as the previous guides but the title was CRYSTAL PALACE FROM S.W.)
Back of the above view, CRYSTAL FOUNTAIN & BIG CLOCK 40FT DIAMETER, CENTRE
TRANSEPT, SOUTH NAVE.* (This was facing page 5 in previous guides)
Facing the above view, CRYSTAL PALACE, VIEW FROM TERRACE.*
Back of the above view, THE NORTH NAVE.*
Facing Page 12. AERIAL VIEW OF CRYSTAL PALACE.*
Back of above view, ENGLISH MEDIAEVAL COURT*/ALHAMBRA COURT.*
Facing above view. CRYSTAL PALACE, GENERAL VIEW.*
Facing Page 13, COLUMNS OF THE TEMPLE OF KARNAK, EGYPTIAN COURT.* Facing Page 20, A SCENE AT ONE OF THE MUSICAL FESTIVALS.
Centre spread over 2 pages, THESE TWO PANORAMAS PRESENT A CONTINUOUS PICTURE
SHOWING ONE OF THE TWO SPORTS GROUNDS TOGETHER
CAPABLE OF ACCOMMODATING 150,000 SPECTATORS.
On the back of the spread is a composite of four views:- THE COURT OF SCULPTURE.
THE GREEK COURT. THE NATURAL HISTORY COURT.
A CORNER OF THE MOORISH COURT.
Facing Page 28, CRYSTAL PALACE FROM THE N.E.* (This is the same view as the previous guides but the title was CRYSTAL PALACE FROM S.E.)
Back of the above view, GIANT FIGURES OF RAMESES.*
Facing the above view, CRYSTAL PALACE BOATING LAKE.*
Facing Page 29. COURT OF LIONS NEAR THE TRIBUNAL OF JUSTICE ALHAMBRA COURT.*
Facing Page 30. CRYSTAL PALACE FROM PARADE.*
Back of the above view, INTERIOR OF THE RENAISSANCE COURT, IN THE NORTH
Facing the above view, THE MEGALOSAURUS IN THE ANIMAL PARK.
Facing Page 31. (a composite of four views) PREHISTORIC ANIMALS. IN THE ANIMAL PARK,
POPULAR AMUSEMENTS IN THE GROUNDS, THE CAPTIVE FLYING MACHINE.
It would seem that Photochrom had the same problem with their postcards as they had with the pictures in the guides. From 1920 Serial Number 47644 is CRYSTAL PALACE FROM THE S.E, but after 1930 it is Serial Number 47644 CRYSTAL PALACE. The same goes for Serial Number 51410, from 1920 it is captioned CRYSTAL PALACE FROM THE S.W. after 1930 it becomes Serial Number 51410 CRYSTAL PALACE. It .is suspected that that once the error was detected the publisher was not sure of the direction the view was taken, so played it safe by leaving the direction out!
© Exhibition Study Group 2011