Benjamin Brecknell Turner (1815 - 94)
Crystal Palace Transept, Hyde Park
Albumen print from paper negative
Museum no. PH.1-1982
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Joseph Paxton's Crystal Palace housed the Great Exhibition of 1851. Here, for the first time anywhere in the world, a significant number of fine photographs were displayed. Over 700 photographs, from six countries, were shown. The exhibition probably influenced Turner to acquire a new, large camera that year. In March 1852, when the six million visitors had departed and nearly all of the thousands of exhibits had been removed - but before the building had been dismantled (to be rebuilt in Sydenham in south London) - Turner photographed the interior. His view of the elm tree enclosed in the iron and glass structure can be read as a comparative study on the work of nature and the engineering of man.