This fine hardback volume, with numerous illustrations, many in colour, is the story of one of the great pioneering enterprises of Victorian Britain, which created not only the Great Exhibition, the world’s first international exhibition, in the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, but also set up a Royal Commission which was to have a leading role in the promotion of art and design, and scientific education. Under the skilful leadership of Prince Albert, the Commission invested the profits of the Exhibition in an estate in South Kensington on which the Victoria and Albert, the Natural History and the Science Museums were built. It also promoted a number of institutions, the Royal Colleges of Music and Art, and Imperial College, as well as the Albert Hall, part of the memorial to the Prince. Once the estate was complete it went on to found a series of innovative scholarships for students throughout the empire, which enabled British students to pursue scientific goals both at home and abroad.
Many of the early Commissioners were prominent public figures, among them Henry Cole, Richard Owen and the courtiers and politicians Lords Granville, Spencer, Rosebery and Esher, all strong-willed personalities. This account relates some of the controversies which arose following their involvement and intervention.
Hermione Hobhouse is an urban historian specialising in London in the Victorian period. She curated the Exhibition Prince Albert: His Life and Work at the Royal College of Art in 1983, and was herself an 1851 Commissioner for fifteen years.
This book records the careers of all those who have obtained awards in The Commission’s prestigious and competitive educational schemes from their inauguration in 1891 up to the year 2000. Most former award holders have achieved distinction in their own fields, and include seven holders of the Order of Merit, twelve Nobel Laureates, and four Presidents plus one hundred and thirty Fellows of the Royal Society.
These publications can be ordered directly from the Commission. Substantial discounts are available to Royal Commission award holders.
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