Early views of the Western Forecourt

The Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens have been captured by artists since their creation in 1879. The aspect most frequently depicted is the south-east corner from Nicholson Street; then come views of the south entrance with the Hochgurtel fountain and pleasure lakes framing the magnificent façade.

The south-west corner of the building is poorly represented in artistic renditions, but some terrific images from the 1880s and early 1900s do exist, as these examples (all in the museum’s collection) demonstrate.

Museum staff, archaeologists and architects working on the World Heritage, World Futures project studied these images carefully when planning the garden reconstruction. As artistic interpretations they cannot be taken literally, but they provide a sense of what the site must have looked like in its early decades, and how it was used by visitors to the Exhibition Building and Carlton Garden.