'Exhalting and Enlarging the Mind'



Open from May 13th 1839 until September the same year, the Derby Mechanics’ Institute Exhibition was a landmark event, as Derby’s first foray into the growing exhibition culture of the nineteenth century.

Today our knowledge of this exhibition primarily comes from a hand-coloured lithograph, produced by Samuel Rayner, entitled Derby’s First Exhibition.

In 1839 Samuel Rayner was a successful artist residing at 17 Friar Gate and co-running the Cornmarket Gallery in Derby; his depiction of the exhibition highlights the vibrant cultural life of the town in the 1830s.

KEYWORDS: Derby, Exhibition, Enlightenment

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