Compiled by

Stanley K Hunter. Chairman, Exhibition Study Group.

The first handbook published by the Exhibition Study Group is devoted to the Glasgow International Exhibition of 1888. This was the greatest exhibition held outside London and the largest ever in Scotland during the 19th century.

Kelvingrove & the 1888 Exhibition deals not only with the exhibition but sets it in context with the City of Glasgow of the time and with many other exhibitions worldwide, right up to the Glasgow Garden Festival exactly a century later. The whole area surrounding Kelvingrove, Glasgow's West End and its rival burghs, is examined in detail.

The book (370 pages, A4) traces the course of the exhibition from its original concept right up to its direct consequencces in the 20th century. 27 pages of illustrations, including plans, have been confined to contemporary line drawings.

A special study is made on the work of the exhibition's architect, James Sellars. His work still remains throughout Scotland. Tragically, he was to die just before the close of this vastly successful International Exhibition. Rumour had it that he had stood on a rusty nail while examining some construction work at the exhibition and died of blood poisoning!

The book contains the largest-ever anthology of poems devoted to a single Scottish event, certainly the most outrageous collection of Scotttish rhymes and doggerel, with even William Topaz McGonagall having to fight for a place in the many accounts of the 1888 Exhibition! There are also over 30 versions of the ballad "Kelvingrove", but not the original one that shocked Regency Glasgow in 1820.

The Fine Art at the exhibition is well documented in the book and it is intriguing to note that many of the outstanding works on show (on loan) eventually ended up in the permanent collection at Kelvingrove Art Gallery, donated by collectors who were impressed at the interest shown by the public. The profits of the Exhibition went to the fund to build the Art Gallery, which opened in 1901 as a feature of the 2nd International Exhibition at Kelvingrove.

There is a major study of the 1888 Exhibition work of SIR JOHN LAVERY, one of the leading members of the "Glasgow Boys" school of painting. He did about 40 oils of the Exhibition and many of these are traced in the book. His "State Visit of Queen Victoria" includes 253 characters and these are all identified in full detail. A tipped-in full-colour card is included. The huge painting is on long-term loan to the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall from Kelvingrove.

There is the first detailed account of the Postal arrangements at the Exhibition with examples of the very rare postmark used, reproduced for the first time from the Regional Archives. Expert M Morton Hunter has contributed a study of Glasgow's comprehensive HORSE TRAM network as affected by the Exhibition. CATERING at the Exhibition is examined, including the rise of Joe Lyons and Kate and Stuart Cranston.

The Archives also hold a wonderful collection of 200 letters held by the POLICE OFFICE at the heart of the Exhibition. These letters have been carefully examined and the book gives a faithful summary of each epistle. Subjects range from lost brollies to a complaint of using a display Shank's toilet (unplumbed!). The Police Office also got a tip-off that "Jack the Ripper" was en route for the Glasgow Exhibition. (The last Whitechapel Murder took place on the day before the Exhibition closed).

The huge BIBLIOGRAPHY on publications of the 1888 Exhibition is the first for any major Scottish event and includes everything from contemporary press-cuttings to all major works on the Exhibition. There is also an account of later exhibitions which included material originally shown in 1888. The INDEX is very comprehensive.

KELVINGROVE & THE 1888 EXHIBITION is probably the most detailed general and entertaining account of any British exhibition since the Great Exhibition of 1851.

ISBN 0 9502746 2 3

It is now on sale, in a limited first edition of 50 copies at #25.00 per copy. (Postage and packing #3.00 extra). Trade (and Academic) terms by arrangement.




© Exhibition Study Group 1992