THE MELBOURNE EXHIBITION. (FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT.)
Wednesday, the 22nd December, was a retnarkablo day at the Exhibition. The great organ, being at last quite finished, was to have displayed its full compass for the firßt time, and a large number of visitors assembled, overflowing the western nave and reaching, as far back as the exhibit of the Royal Worcester Pottery Company. The pianofortes, considering they had been badly used, and that their afternoon recitals had not been sufficiently consulted in the matter, struck, en 'masse, never — io they vowed — to recite again. Well, time rolled on, long past the hour named, but the organ made no sign. At last, the beating of thousands of impatient feet, rapping of sticks and umbrellas, and other indications, showed that the vast audience were growing desperate, The Executive Committee on the platform looked abashed and uneasy. It was very abaurd — very much like being assembled at a ship launch, when the ship wouldn't launch ! It was really a most disreputable proceeding on the part of the organ. Disgracing the colony — as if there could be anything in Victoria ihat could not fl blow." But something had evidently gone wrong with the blowing buiinww.
A few ominous grunts, and a fevr mysterious sounds occasionally, resembling those heard at a spiritualists' seance, vrere all the notes emitted from its capacious interior. Perhaps that wicked Anthony Trollope had been at it again, with his impertinent advice, " Don't blow !" Here was a fiasco indeed ! The pianofortes wouldn't — the organ couldn't ; and the Exhibition on this occasion wwa "summer land of silence." Mr Vale addressed the audience without a-vail. Nothing, he said, was a-m»tter with the organ, it was only ihe bellows ; sufficient air could not be obtained to discourse sweet music, and he advised the people b> amuse themselves with the statues, the pictures, and the crockery ware. "Thoti shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods, ' whispered our alter ego, as we cast longing glances at the exhihit of the Royal Worcester Porcelain Company. " Well !" we responded, " Lead us not into temptation." Were we not distantly related, on the maternal side, to Horace Wai pole ? Did we not once possess his original M. S. (unfortunately parted with for a consideration), of the lines commencing— China's the passion of my soul ; A cup, a plate, a dish, a bowl, Can kindle wishes in my breast, Inflame with joy, or break my rest. What more is necessary than the possession of the taste, except a pocketful of money 1 But the last-named is a low, sordid consideration, not to be mentioned in good society. We expect to have the pleasure of spending a few hundreds for someone else " up-country," and we intend making our choice in anticipation. What greater pleasure than in selecting these " things of beauty," to become " joys for ever " in Australian homes ? Those exquisite examples of pierced ivory porcelain, jewelled tea-cups, bowls, and tea-pot, at ten guineas each, have been purchased by Sir Henry Parkes, for Sydney, and are not for sale. So has that pair of pilgrim bottles, with the old Chinese mode of throwing, laying, and firing depicted on their sides. That plaque, however, by Bott, with its wondrous depth of color and imperial air, valued at fifty guineas, would accord wonderfully with the Renaissance cabinet, by Fourdinois, we ordered in Paris, but the delivery of which, from some unaccountable cause, has been delayed until this moment. But the Royal Worcester Company's warm ivory porcelain, with Japanesque decoration, is a specialty that would alone make the reputation of an ordinary firm A pair of large vases of this ware, one ornamented with a scarlet poppy, contrasting with rich ivory tones, and the other with a Victoria Regia, or water-lily, are works of high art in ceramic production. A pair of cylinders are equally beautiful ; and even more so is a vase known as the " silk worm " vase, from the decoration upon it, which depicts a Japanese lady attending to a collection of silk worms. Some candlesticks, in the form of a water-lily, are very graceful, and the color beautiful. These are none of them slavish imitations of Japanese art, but a graceful adaption of the formß and style of ornamentation prevailing among the skilful Orientals. Flowers, fruit, birds, treated in Japanese fashion, are intermingled with butterflies and other objects, in dead gold and bronze, with a richness of effect securing a result of the highest order. A pair of pilgrim bottlea, with blue diaper and Satsuma decoration, are perfectly irresistible. Another pair, with Japanese decoration, are enriched with gold, silver, and platinum. Some statuettes of large size are quite unique. The figures are of terra-cotta, and the classic drapery of the richest blue enamel. They bear Greek vases, ornamented with Greek meander, and moulded after ancient forms. Another pair of Em tern water carriers are painted, gilded, and enamelled. The " Raffaelsque Porcelain" is another beautiful specialty of this company. It was introduced by Mr Binns in 1860, and we well remember the admiration the first exhibited specimens excited when shown at the Great International Exhibition of 1862, a medal being awarded to the firm. The famous dessert service, made at the Royal Worcester Works for Her Majesty the Queen, was exhibited at the same time. The porcelain was of a fine turquoise blue color, with paintings and ornaments, and adorned with statuettes modelled in fictilo ivory — a specialite of this firm. A halo of antiquity sheds its beams around the firm, " Worcester " being the only survivor of the four historical manufactures of a bygone age, viz , "Chelsea," "Bow," "Worcester," and " Derby." As befits this interesting fact, the bearer of another historic name in glass and ceramic manufactures, Mr Apsley Pellatt is in charge of the exhibit. Mr Apsley Pellatt, senr., distinguished himself by writing at the International Exhibition of 1862, the best official report of the advancement and development of the art of glass making in England that had ever appeared. Some specimens of old Worcester ware may be seen at the exhibit, and a piece bearing the date of 1751, lent by a gentleman resident in Melbourne. This would be a great rarity, even in England. But one of the signs of the times is that, feeling they were unsurpassed in grace of form and beauty of decoration, the company determined upon combining with this, cheapness of production, and now exhibit full dinner services, from five guineas up to a hundred guineas. Their fashionable daisy -pattern in brown is within the reach of everyone. Their small fashionable tete-a tttt tea-services are charming. What would the civilised world have done without glass 1 By means of glass some of the most wonderful discoveries in astronomy, optics, chemistry, and science, have been effected ; indeed, scarcely any article, however simple, whether scieutitic, ornamental, or for domestic use, but glass, in some form, becomes an important adjunct to its successful production. We were impressed with the fine display (adjoining the Royal Worcester Company's exhibit), of glass produced by Messrs Boulton and Mills, of Stourbridge, Staffordshire (agents, Messrs John Dynon and Son, China Hall, Lonadale street, als* agents to the Royal Worcester Porcelain Company). This firm appears to have quite succeeded in sustaining the pre-eminence of English flint-glass manufactures, the color, quality, finish, and general excellence being equal to any we have yet seen. "The essential and distinguishing qualities of good glass," writes the late Mr Apsley Pellatt, sen., in his well-known work, Curiosities of Glausmaking, " are its freedom from streaks, strife, and its near resemblance to real crystal in its brilliant, pellucid refraction and colorless transparency. In all these respects the English houses are unrivalled, and it only remains for them to evince their superiority in the ornamental branches of their art." Messrs Boulton and Mills show beautiful cut diamond seta for the toilet table, with silvered plateau and toilet glass of the finest translucence and color. Another specialty consists of several services of cut, engraved, and etched table glass, which combine great elegance of form and design with very moderate prices. One service, of perfectly plain glass, with crest or monogram, struck us by its simplicity and eleganoe aud lowness of prio«
— a complete service of twelve pieces being procurable for L 7 7s, including crest or monogram, or any device. Thus a choice and elegant service of glass is brought within thn reach of persons of the moat moderate income. There is also a fine display of epergnes and flower stands ; in fact, the whole exhibit is worthy of a close and careful inspection, and Mr H. Apsley Pellatt, in charge of these various exhibits, is ever ready to afford any interesting or instructive explanations <>f the modios operandi of glass manufacture. Ciose by atan'ls Messrs Powell, Bishop, and Stoiner'a case of artistic china and earthenware, applied chiefly to dinner services, toilet services, jugs, &c. There never was any reason why the articles in daily use for domestic purposes should be hideous in form and abominable in color, but that tho demon of ugliness has been for ever banished from these things no at,ronger proof is affi >rded anywhere in the Exhibition than bv Messrs Powell, Bishop, and Stonier, of Hanley, Staffordshire. The Queen's Buff in toiletware is a specialty of this 6rm. They also apply Japanesque decoration most successfully, in a cheaper form, to dinner cervices, breakfast, and toilet services. TheirW pagoda double dejeuner set is very beautiful, also their " Miltoa " and "Celtic" patterns. Their jet teapots, painted in gold ornament, is another tasteful specialty. Five medals have be^n awarded to this firm, which appears to have achieved most successfully tlie production of tasteful, artistic forms, and beautiful decoration, in combination with relatively very low prices. It is scarcely necessary, in these days, to point out that all the beauty of the choicest porcelain, costly paintings, and objects of art may be utterly ruined by a loud, vulgar wall paper, or one unsuited to the purpose for which the room is to be appropriated. We have seen few exhibits here equal to those of Messrs Jeffreys, of Islington, London, in this matter. Some cf these designs are by Walter Crane, the painter of " The Fate of Persephone, " in the British Picture Uallery. Their dados are particularly refined and correct in principle and one in imitation of stamped leather, such as may be seen in old Baronial residences, is well worth examination. It is raised, and embossed, and the illusion is perfect. Others are shown of that subdued tone, which is correct in design and in accordance with the principles taught by the best authorities on the decorative arts. The Exhibition grounds have been hot enough, on some recent days, to admit, we should think, of the manufacture of sun-dried bricks, such as those with which the ancient Assyrians built Nineveh ; but such bricks would be useless in these days of high-pressure in manufactures. Messrs G. K. Harnaon, of Stourbndge, exhibits fire bricks near the Victorian machinery, which are made to stand the fiercest white heat, and are suitable for blast furnaces, and all scientific or chemical laboratories. This firm obtained medals at both Philadelphia and Paris. It is but fair to mention that Messrs Dynon and Son are also agents both for this and the exhibit of Messrs Jeffreys and Messrs Powell, Bishop, and Stonier.
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