4.3 Restoration events

© Bob Denton 2018
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IN THIS CHAPTER:

After the 1806 event the Napoleonic Wars diverted all attention, culminating, of course, in Waterloo in 1815. Ensuing years saw the Bourbon monarchy restored by the ascension of King Louis VIII. The king came to realise the values that the revolutionary expositions had developed.

In fact, it was the city of Caen that first proposed he should resurrect these events. However, the Minister of the Interior, Élie-Louis Decazes, proposed it should again be held in Paris and the Louvre.

Decazes wrote to all the regions asking them to submit products of high quality or of low-price having a general appeal. The monarchy also offered to pay all transportation costs incurred for such exhibits to be shipped into Paris.

4.3.1  1819, Paris, Exposition Universelle

See also 1819_Paris Exposition Universelle data sheet

The driving force operating behind the scenes was Chaptal who as a previous Minister of the Interior had overseen the planning of the second and third expositions.

This fifth Paris exhibition was held in the Louvre colonnade and ran for thirty-five days, 25Aug–30Sep. Some 1,662 exhibitors presented textiles, including cashmere, flock silk shawls and soie sina (white sina) silk, dyes, wool carding and refining equipment, plus steel and paper products.

Paris 1819

There were levels of award citation, honourable mention, bronze, silver and gold. These were awarded in thirty-nine categories essentially similar to those in 1806; in total 886 awards were presented. There was a number of detailed explanatory publications describing exhibits and award winners that followed the exhibition, early forms of souvenir catalogue. Jacquard was awarded the Legion d’Honneur during this event’s closing ceremony.

The dramatist Etienne de Jouy in 1921 offered this jingoistic commentary;

‘Imagine 28 rooms in the most magnificent palace in Europe, full of everything that can satisfy human needs, of everything that can perfect taste and luxury, of everything that genius can create, of everything that talent can bring into being. This is a true triumph for France, a more glorious triumph than anything she has achieved before’.

However, an 1819 anonymous account entitled Reflections on Industry in General, upon the occasion of the Exposition of the Products of French Industry in 1819, said that the sale of items turned it into a virtual bazaar, that the categorisation and traffic flow was poorly organised and that its hubris and overstatement only increased the jealousy of France’s industrial competitors. Whichever viewpoint was more accurate there was general agreement that France’s industry was back from the disruptions of revolution and wars.

4.3.2  1823, Paris, Exposition Universelle

See also1823_Paris Exposition Universelle data sheet

History once again intruded so it was not until 1823 that the sixth Paris exhibition was held. This was organised in the Louvre colonnade and ran for 50 days from 25Aug–13Oct. It was established by a straight ‘lift’ of the invitations and categorisations of the 1819 event.

There were 1,648 exhibitors displaying much the same range of products, though the Séguin Brothers of Lyon exhibited a large model of the first French iron suspension bridge designed to span the Rhône. The 1,091 award winners were displayed within a ‘Temple of Industry’.

The previous events’ focus on textiles was modulated by more attention to metalwork and agricultural tools. The post-show catalogues also focused on the need to link talented students and artists more directly with capitalists.

4.3.3  1827, Paris, Exposition Universelle

See also 1827 Paris Exposition Universelle data sheet

European countries had entered a period of isolationism, raising trade barriers, promoting self-sufficiency, and less keen on purchasing from other countries. There was surplus production and financial strain. King Charles X reintroduced royal prerogatives perhaps working towards reinstating absolute monarchy, his reign would last only three years after this seventh Paris event in 1827.

This exposition was held in the Louvre courtyard. It was held for sixty-two days from 1Aug-1Oct. There were 1,695 exhibitors primarily displaying furniture, paper and textiles (Meringo wool, silks…). Some 1,254 prizes were awarded as c. 600,000 visitors attended.

Steam-power was a feature of the show particularly in terms of paper manufacture, notably for wallpapers. France was achieving new successes in musical instruments. The event featured a Gothic revival in furniture and decorative arts, and new chemistry techniques for stained-glass.

The economist Adolphe-Jérome Blanqui prepared a contemporary report of the show and included a visit to Britain where ‘he found British workers better housed, and manufactured products much cheaper, with standardized, well-publicized prices, which encouraged trade and prosperity’. He went on to complain that internal and external ‘tolls’ were making French clothes expensive and British goods more attractive. He also felt that the exposition lacked the entertainments and amusements of previous fairs. Blanqui was mostly concerned that the huge effort that went in to organising the exposition was not able to be monetised (of course not using that term). He did not mention that these reformation events had attracted 1,662, 1,642 and 1,695 exhibitors (1819, 1823, 1827 respectively) and thus was clearly constrained by the venue.

© Bob Denton 2018
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