The present watercolour is the original watercolour after which George Baxter made his famous print of the Great Exhibition of 1851. The print was released only a few days after the Exhibition opened and therefore Buckley must have executed this watercolour before the actual opening day on 1 May.
This view shows us the palace from the South East. The scene differs in many ways from Baxter's print, some figures have been removed or replaced and notably the Union Jack in the watercolour has not been included in the print.
The competition to design the building for the exhibition was set out in 1850. None of the entries were satisfactory, however, a design submitted by Joseph Paxton was amended by contractors and finally accepted by the commissioners. The design was 1,848 feet long and 408 feet wide, covering an expanse of nineteen acres. Queen Victoria opened the exhibition on 1 May 1851 and a total of six million people came to see the 17,000 exhibitors.
One of the exhibitors was George Baxter himself, whose stall sold the print of this subject during the first few days of the Exhibition, for which he was awarded an 'Honourable Mention'. In 1854, Baxter produced nine prints entitled 'Gems of the Great Exhibition' including the present view.
See lot 124 for eleven additional views of the Great Exhibition.