Sheffield Hardware at the Great Exhibition
Published Dickinson Bros.
The main emphasis of the exhibition was on the industrial aspects of British design, and the fine arts were included to inspire designers and to improve their taste. The often highly decorated, mostly mass-produced household goods came under some criticism for being unoriginal and too elaborate in their ornamentation.
As Britain's industrialisation gathered pace, the mass-produced was taking over from the hand-crafted. This was reflected in the debates about the aesthetics of the exhibition, which was underlined by the Victorian discourse about the nature of factory production. The perceived lack of quality of mass-produced goods was linked to a nostalgic view of the past and of craftsmen and their expertise. This longing for the production methods of the pre-industrial age underpinned the Arts and Crafts movement and the work of William Morris.
This print can be found in Prints and Drawings Study Room box EDUC 4a.