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THE PARIS EXHIBITION., Issue 7989, 19 August 1889
THE PARIS EXHIBITION.
[From Ocr Special Reporter. 1 NoTitl, Paris, June 20. In my previous letter I endeavored to give a general idea of the yastness and complete’ ness of the Exhibition, so essentially different from any which have preceded it. Those who have not visited Paris can hardly realise from description, or photograph, or engraving tho beauty of the panoramas, enrolled as it were at your feet, when standing under tho portico of the Trouadero, facing the Seine. In one grand coup dud you have the whole grounds and buildings of the Exhibition, with a background in whicli the Kospifal of the Invalides— where under the hn go glided dome the ashes of .Napoleon res i_and the Military School are conspicuous objects. First, the park itseh of the Trocadero, utilised for the exhibits of floriculture and arboriculture, where gleam an infinite variety of flowers from every clime, trees and shrubs of every shade and color, from which on the right hand rirfes tho picturesque pavilion of forests, where specimens of every kind of useful and ornamental wood are presented in admirable arrangement. The park slopes down to the river, over which the beautiful Bridge of Jena, included within tho Exhibition grounds, leads directly on to the Champ de Mars, which, from a dusty plain, is now converted into lovely gardens and grass plots, amidst which are the main buildings. In graceful lines the Eiffel Tower rises immediately before tho observer, forming the nucleus round which the whole Exhibition groups, jjight and left of the tower are the pavilions, various and designing, of the countries .of So.ptii .America, all, I think, without exception, represented; and the group of buildings wfqch illustrates in a very complete manner tfie history of human habitations. There are the prehistoric caves, with lifelike figures, th,e inmates, tho furniture, equipments, and weapons in accord with the latest results of scientific investigation. There are Byzantine, Romm, Gothic houses of several periods; Eastern dwellings, from the Arab tent to the Indian, Arabic, and Persian palaces. These are not models, fcu p reproductions, in full size, of actual buildings, in many instances alive with the veritable people of the country ; as, for instance, tho various bazaars and streets of shops. Then,
further on, stretching from the east side of the town, are respectively the Palace of the Fine Arts and that of the Liberal 8 ‘■■■ices, with their ceramic decorations an 1 fifty cupolas ; and at the end stretches the hug i erection of the Gallery of Machines, which marks the limit of the Exhibition grounds towards the Military School, and, with the Trocadero Palace, forms what I may describe ns the two short sides of the oblong parallelogram which contains the main budilines and '.'Lu wnootp.l ."rounds. The Exhibition. a :u;if:u nn.n ..'.ef, •■.cd.hig j,-> a atrip in the rive; frt.ii,ir»r* ■i ’.!•<• Bridge of Jena, voq, ucuri y t-i tr.i- Pun!, tie !a Concorde. The length of this strip, which somewhat varies in width, cannot bo much under two mile'., but is traverse ! by a narrow-gauge railway, on which there is a uniform fare of 5 cents (2id). The carriages are '■• pen at the sides, with comfortable canc seaia, and, I need hardly say, are extensively patronised. Whilst on the subject of locomotion —a rather serious one where the distances arc : so great—l may mention that there are j ordinary wheel chairs available ; Annamite ! chairs, where a Native in full costume j trots along between the shafts at five j miles an hour or less; and any number j of veritable Egyptian donkeys, which ( have been imported with the aboriginal; donkey boys. Along the river on the Quai D’Orsay and lire Esplanade des Invalideaare , many fine buildings and interesting exhibits ■ —notably the Galleries of Agriculture ami, the palace of the Minister of War, wherein, most intelligently arranged, may be seen every art and appliance connected with war by sea and land, illustrated by examples of their development from very early times. On the Quai D’Orsay are also the exhibits of the French colonies and of tho countries under the protectorate of France, regarding which I shall have something special to say by-and-bye. Spain is also here, but has not yet completed her exhibition, which is located in a handsome building erected in the national style. With the exception of Germany and Turkey all the Great Powers and most of the States in the world have taken part in the Exhibition. Forty-five countries are directly represented, and a few others show up in the fine arts department. Our first concern may be presumed to be with our own Empire, with the exhibits from which I propose briefly to deal before entering upon details with regard to the Exhibition generally. Next to France, which naturally enough absorbs the lion’s share, “Great Britain and her colonies" make the most important show. The exhibits occupy a space of 227,070 square feet, and mount up in number to I,COO, a figure not nearly reached by any other foreign country. Great Britain puts herself in evidence through every part of the Exhibition. She has a section in the fine arts galleries, in those of tho liberal arts, in the great Palace of Industries dintrm, and in the gallery of machinery; in addition there arc several separate pavilions and saloons devoted to special classes of exhibits. The English section proper is situated in the Palais deslndnstries divirm, and is ornamented in a manner which tho French are impudent enough to say is “ sufficiently primitive, but characteristically English.” As a matter of fact, this section is distinguished from every other by a businesslike simplicity. The arrangement is excellent, and the. arts and manufactures of the United Kingdom are, I should judge, very fairly represented. The crystal and porcelain ware is remarkably beautiful, and has attracted much attention among Frenchmen, who fail, however, to understand the raison d’etre of the exhibits of boots, shoes, and other articles of wearing apparel, piles of candles, and monstrosities in steariue, such, for instance, as a hideous bust of Her Gracious Majesty ! The silver ware is hardly up to the murk of some foreign countries—Austria to wit ; but in arms and accoutrements for war and sport England stands without a rival. From the British section we enter at once upon the meagre space originally allotted to Victoria. There is nothing in the court which calls for special note; the exhibits would appear to be callings from the Centennial Exhibition in Melbourne ; but elsewhere, i.e., on the Quai tl'Orsay, the colony has two supplementary courts, one devoted to the exhibits of wine—a good glass cun be enjoyed there tor less than threepence. The Now Zealand court in the Palais des Industries dieemen joins that ®f Vic:oria, and this again, as 1 have previously mentioned, is supplemented in one of the long sheds ou the Quai D’Orsay. I am aware that very little money was available, but it certainly stems a pity that, if the colony put in an appearance at all, it was not to better effect. The court is about 90ft x 30ft, as 1 guess from stepping it, and a more dreary collection it would be difficult to imagine. There is tho eternal lot of old stones variously labelled ; a big pile of socalled auriferous antimony, which looks suspiciously like an advertisement of a certain company; some very indifferent and apparently ancient photographs; and a lot of samples of wool, such as are handed about at wool sales. I forgot, by the way, a few lumps of kauri gum under a glass case. The feature, however, of the court is a group of Maoris, very much handsomer in wax than they ever appear in the flesh, hut strongly suggestive of a penny show. It draws accordingly, and is generally surrounded by admiring groups of grisettes, nursemaids, and children. The supplementary section on the Quai D’Orsay contains chiefly, so far as I could see, large glass cases filled with tins purporting to contain preserved meal, but which might be empty or full of sawdust for what anybody knows ; then there is what appears to be a comprehensive exhibit of cereal products, including a remarkably ugly trophy of wheat sheaves, designed, I should say, by an upholsterer whose line is four-post bedsteads. Some good maps of the colony, showing inter alia the occupation and character of the land, 1 are hung here—the same, I believe, which were exhibited in Melbourne. To work these paltry courts, with their altogether incomprehensive exhibits of New Zealand pro. ducc and manufactures, has mainly occupied, as I understand, the Agent-General and his staff for some time, not to speak of the curious mob of Commissioners appointed specially by the Government. Speaking from my own knowledge, a week or two ago both Sir Dillon Bell and Mr Kennaway were in Paris busily fussing about the permanent officials who are in charge of the exhibits, and no doubt piling up a nice little bill of expenses. Sir Dillon, I happened to hear, was paying 70fr a day for his room at the hotel. Not a high figure for such accommodation as a man in his position requires; but his pre sence most certainly was not required in connection with New Zealand. There is M, Malfroy, of .Rotorua, in charge on full salary; and I noticed several other individuals banging about the courts, who wore evidently on pay, The House possibly may have something to say when the vote for this expenditure comes up. As to the apf ointment of Commissioners to further shepherd so trumpery a show, the Government surely must have lost their heads, and have indeed made themselves a laughing stock in well-informed circles. Conceive, inter alia, the accrediting, among a host of colonial nobodies, a peregrinatory lecturer, who not very successfully did the colonies recently, and knows as little as can well bo estimated of New Zealand ! I have not met any of our colonists, Commissioners or otherwise, but I believe Dr Grace, of Wellington, and Mr Peacock, of Auckland, are just now in Paris,
Victoria, New Zealand, the Cape of Good Hope, and Canada, very feebly, indeed, are the only British colonies represented at all. The exhibits, unfortunately, will epuvey but a very poor impression of their resources and capabilities. The Capo has a very interesting exhibition of the diamond mines —a model complete of all the working and processes up to the final cutting and polishing of the stones, A large glass case, or rather a plate-glass coffer, delights the woman-kind especially by the most brilliant display of diamonds ever shown. There is a big pile of uncut stones, some millions according to the catalogue, and in the midst gleams brilliantly, cut in facets, tho diatpond said to be the largest in the world, the weight being 482 carats. It was found some few months ago in the mines of Beers. The well-known firm of Boar and Co., of Amsterdam, exhibit at work during certain hours of the day the machinery used in old times for polishing diamonds, and that most recently invented for the purpose. The great finds at the Cape have evidently given a great impulse to this industry, and the process seems to be about perfection,
THE PARIS EXHIBITION., Issue 7989, 19 August 1889
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