All the World Going to See the Great Exhibition of 1851

George Cruikshank, 1792-1878. All the World Going to See the Great Exhibition of 1851. Etching, 1851. Signed at the center of globe.

This image first appeared in Henry Mayhew’s 1851 or The Adventures of Mr. and Mrs. Sandboys and Family, Who Came Up to London to ‘Enjoy Themselves,’ and to See the Great Exhibition (London: David Bogue, [1851]). The work includes ten etchings by George Cruikshank and a woodcut title page reproducing the design on the wrappers of the parts. Cruikshank is making fun of the approximately 25,000 people who attended the exhibition, which was conceived to demonstrate Britain’s status as an industrial power.

According to Cruikshank’s catalogue raisonne by Albert Cohn, Mayhew’s text was originally issued in eight parts in green wrappers, February-September 1851, and on completion in light blue stamped cloth, with a gilt design upon the spin. In the early issues there is an error in the pagination at p. 63, where in subsequent issues a leaf of advertisements is inserted to make good the omission on the numbering of the pages. The set was sold in parts for ten pounds and in blue cloth for four pounds.