[Dallas resided in Paris throughout the Exhibition Universelle from early April to mid-September 1867; this was the second report he filed. - Graham Law]

The Great Exhibition (from Our Special Correspondent)

Paris, April 12

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nglishmen who propose to come to Paris in the ensuing holydays must remember to bring their photographs with them. This is the last new invention of the French to secure that season-tickets shall not be transferred. There are three clauses of season-tickets. First of all there are the tickets of exhibitors and their agents. Hitherto there has been no photograph attached to these, but there is an intimation in the Moniteur of yesterday that the photographers of the Exhibition are now ready to give the finishing touch to them by affixing to them the likenesses of their possessors. Next there are tickets for visitors which admit to the Exhibition at all times, from the beginning to the end of it. These have a portrait of the owner, a little bigger than a postage-stamp, gummed upon them. Lastly, there are the weekly tickets, and it is in these that our English friends are chiefly interested. The price of admission to the Champ de Mars is a franc, and when it is announced that the price of a weekly ticket is six francs most persons will be disposed to say that it is not worth while to compound for the difference. But they are wrong. There are certain reserved hours of the morning when the price of admission is a couple of francs; there are certain gates of entrance, also, where the price is more than a franc; and there are certain supplementary exhibitions in the park and elsewhere, the proprietors of which have authority to levy extra tolls. The weekly tickets at six francs cover all expenses of admission to the Exhibition, at all its gates, at all times when it is open, for a week from the day of issue, and they admit to all the supplementary parts of the Exhibition. The visitor who wishes for such a ticket will present his carte de visite at the proper office. The ticket - a thin strip of printed paper - will be gummed across his portrait, leaving the head visible, and the official stamp of the Imperial Commission will then be (not printed, but) embossed upon it, so as to prevent the possibility of fraud. The whole process is the work of a minute, and does some credit to the ingenuity of the French Commission.

"Vue officielle à vol d'oiseau de l'exposition universelle de 1867" (Official bird's-eye of the Universal Exposition of 1867"). Courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Online Catalogue, slightly enhanced for clarity. Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-pga-00497 (digital file from original print).

A word about photographs, before I pass from this subject. The present Exhibition establishes beyond all cavilling the pre-eminence of the French in photographic portraiture, and that is a point to be noted by all visitors to Paris. Staying in London, you can order almost anything you like from Paris, but you cannot order your portrait. You must come to the spot for it. I shall have to speak more particularly of the photographic display hereafter, but the general conclusion which any competent person will draw from it is quite clear. We beat the French hollow in photographic landscape. The French beat us hollow in photographic portraiture. In portraiture it is true that our exhibition is below the standard which English photographers have reached. Our best man for portraits, who has won considerable glory at our photographic exhibitions, and whose little vignettes show a good deal of taste and fine feeling - Mr. Williams, of Regent-street - makes no appearance. But even were he here represented in full force he would have to kneel down to the Frenchman. The portraits turned out by such a man as M. Adam-Salomon are simply matchless. They are the last triumphs of the photographic art. Or take a more ordinary artist - as M. Berthier. I do not know that any special merit attaches to M. Berthier. I mention him almost at random, because in treating of such a subject as this one naturally flies to examples. Now, M. Berthier, who has no special merit here, who is merely a good ordinary photographer, would in Regent-street be an extraordinary one. The good ordinary work of Paris ranks far above the good ordinary work of London; and, therefore, among those things which are especially called articles de Paris a good photograph is now to be placed. A number of these articles we can produce in London much better than we can get them here. Since the Exhibition of 1851, indeed, there have been not a few changes in the relative positions of the two great capitals in different branches of manufacture. In photography, among other matters, we have, ever since its invention, been running a hard race with the French; and in all candour it must be owned that at least for the present they excel us in portraiture.

There will be a flower show nearly every fortnight during the period of the Exhibition; but the weather has been so severe, and the works in the Champ de Mars outside the Palace (the Parisians call it a Palace) have been so backward, that few persons have cared to leave the attractions presented to their notice under cover of a glass roof to potter about the diggings of the surrounding park. But even the building itself affords little shelter. The French, trusting to their climate, have left enormous entrances for which there are no doors. On any cold day one is perished with draughts and great gusts of wind, if one has to stay long in any place. On some days the dust blows in from all the fearful litter outside, to the annoyance of the exhibitors. . . . [9d]

Link to Related Material


[Dallas, Eneas Sweetland]. "The Great French Exhibition," The Times (16 April 1867): 9d-e.

Created 2 February 2024