First Thoughts for the Building for the Great Exhibition of 1851
Joseph Paxton (1891-1865)
Ink on blotting paper
Width 28 cm x height 39.1cm
Museum no. E.575-1985
Paxton had these thoughts during a board meeting of the Midland Railway, hence his use of blotting paper. Blotting paper is unsized. As a result it draws the ink into its matted fibres giving richness and lack of definition to the image. The sketches show a cross section and a side elevation. Within a week the drawings were converted to fully-fledged designs, shown to the Royal Commission for the Great Exhibition and accepted. Being of glass and steel, the design could be prefabricated in sections and thus built more quickly than the more traditional designs offered by competitors.