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Crystal Palace game
Title : Crystal Palace game Crystal Palace game View More Images
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Creator : Evans, Smith
Source : The Crystal Palace game [game] : a voyage around the world, an entertaining excursion in search of knowledge whereby geography is made easy .
Place Of Creation : [London]
Publisher : s. n.
Date of creation : 1851?]
Format : Game
Dimensions : 455 x 647 mm
Contributor : State Library of South Australia
Catalogue record
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Description :

The Crystal Palace game features an attractive border of vignettes of the countries to be visited, from the polar regions, to India and Africa. The map itself is also dotted with scenes including the discovery of gold in Australia, the death of Captain Cook in Hawaii, and the marooning of Alexander Selkirk on the Island of Juan Fernandez, a story which inspired the writing of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe. At the top left hand corner of the game is a representation of the Crystal Palace itself and on the right a scene of the opening of the Great Exhibition by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

Devised by Prince Albert, The Great Exhibition of 1851 was held in Hyde Park in London in the specially constructed Crystal Palace. The Crystal Palace was originally designed by Sir Joseph Paxton and was a huge iron goliath with over a million feet of glass. The Great Exhibition was conceived to symbolise the industrial, military and economic superiority of Great Britain.

The principles of teaching children through play was first explored in France in the mid-17th century to teach the young Louis XIV. Writing in England in 1693, John Locke also advocated the use of play to encourage learning. English book publishers utilised this idea and it was advanced again in the late 18th century when Abbé Gaultier fled France during the French Revolution, founding a school in England and publishing books of games for children. These were designed to teach a multitude of subjects, but geography was among the most popular as map makers were able to utilise their maps to produce games and dissected puzzles.

This practise continued throughout the 19th century, in England, France and other countries of Europe. By the mid-19th century when the British Empire had spread around the world, there were a variety of games that extolled British pluck and ingenuity. The Great Exhibition showcased the culture and productions of Britain and her colonies. The exhibition spawned a variety of souvenirs. Smith Evans, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, published maps of world shipping routes; it would have been an easy task for him to design an exciting game of world travel which highlighted the achievements of the Empire.

Period : 1852-1883
Further reading :

Beaver, Patrick. The Crystal Palace: a portrait of Victorian enterprise, Chichester, Sussex: Phillimore, 1986

Goodfellow, Caroline. A collector's guide to games and puzzles, London: Apple Press, c1991

Opie, Iona. The treasures of childhood: books, toys and games from the Opie collection, London: Pavilion, 1989

Shefrin, Jill. Ingenious contrivances: table games and puzzles for children, Toronto: Friends of the Osborne & Lillian H. Smith Collections: Toronto Public Library, 1996

Whitfield, Peter. The image of the world: 20 centuries of world maps, London: British Library, c1994 pp. 122-123

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