Souvenirs of the Crystal Palace.

Drawings and written by Fred Peskett


Souvenirs made from brass.


            The pin tray shown is made from pressed brass sheet, it measures four and one eighth inches long by two and three quarter inches. wide and is half an inch high. The Great Exhibition Building is featured embossed with the words, The Worlds Exposition of Arts & Manufactures London 1851. The embossed border design is about forty years ahead of it’s time, since the sinuous plant forms depicted are associated with the Art Nouveau style from the 1890’s to the early 1900’s.

            This particular souvenir seems to have survived in fairly high numbers, therefore it is possible that it may have been produced in the Machinery Section of the Great Exhibition, and given away as a free sample, although there is no direct evidence to support this theory.

            There is a Type 2. of this souvenir, identical to the pattern shown below but pressed from copper sheet.


(Illustrated full size)


Souvenirs made from wood.



            Mauchlineware was a popular type of souvenir produced in the small town of Mauchline, about eight miles north east of Ayr, Scotland. The souvenirs were made from boxwood, each one had a black and white transfer applied featuring a local landmark or beauty spot to remind the visitor of a happy memory. Some items which are said to be Mauchlineware are in fact made in Germany, but they are included under the generic term for this type of souvenir. The period Mauchlineware was being made was from around the 1820’s to the 1890’s.


Mauchlineware Pencil or Pen Box. (Type 1).


            This souvenir is one of the types made in Germany, it is cylindrical and is one and one eighth inches in diameter by eight and three-quarters inches long. The body pulls apart to reveal a hollow tube in which to store the writing tools. The transfer design is the Crystal Palace as seen from the Low Level Railway, however, it is a very early view, the Water Towers are not shown but the North Transept is featured, this was destroyed by fire in 1866 and was never re-built. Views located on a cylindrical surface are difficult to depict, therefore the drawing has been ‘opened out’ as it would have been before the transfer was applied. “Made in Germany” is below “Crystal Palace, Sydenham”. A transfer of a small “rose with a foliage” design is on the pull-off end.

            The Type 2 version has radial instead of angular sides to the end collar of the pull-off section, and the transfer design on the end section is a daisy with foliage, not a rose.

            The Type 3 version has the same angular sides to the end collar of the pull-off section as the Type 1, and the transfer design on the pull-off section is pansies with foliage. “Made in Germany” is omitted on the Type 3 from under the transfer of the Crystal Palace, and the overall length is nine inches, not eight and three quarters.



            The developed transfer design around the body of the Pencil/Pen Box. (75% full size).


© Exhibition Study Group 2014