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Derby. A city for all ages


Art treasure - Interior of the Mechanics' Institute

 Interior of the Mechanics' Institute title graphic
The Interior of the Mechanics' Institute, hand coloured lithograph print from a drawing by Samuel Rayner 

Exhibition held in the Lecture Hall, Mechanics’ Institution, Derby, 1839.

Hand Coloured Lithograph Print, from a drawing by Samuel Rayner

Derby's first exhibition was held at the town's Mechanics' Institute on the Wardwick in 1839, which later became known as Albert Hall. This print shows the main hall of the Institute in which a variety of over one thousand objects were displayed. These included paintings by Joseph Wright (on the far wall on the left hand side is ‘Romeo and Juliet’), fossils, scientific instruments and even a coconut! This variety reflected the founding aims of the Institute which intended to promote the spread of knowledge among the people of Derby through a range of activities including lectures, concerts, and displays. The legacy of the exhibition was profound, inspiring the subsequent foundation of the Museum and Library in 1878. In fact, many of the objects from the exhibition now form a significant part of the collection here at Derby Museum and Art Gallery.

Large view of the Interior of the Mechanics Institute 2.2MB

Currently undergoing conservation. On return it will be displayed at Derby Museum and Art Gallery.

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