Variously known as World’s Fairs, Expositions or Great Exhibitions, the series of massive events that began with the Crystal Palace exhibition of 1851 helped to define 19th-century art, science and industry and ushered in the modern world. Held all over the globe, the fairs provided an opportunity for nations to demonstrate examples of their skill, creativity and technical innovation. For a host city to stage a fair was at once a burden and a triumph – the costs of building and planning were exorbitant, but if successful, the arrival of millions of visitors would cement the reputation of the host city. For the most wealthy connoisseurs of art, the fairs represented a rare opportunity to acquire some of the finest works of art of the time – and many paid eye-watering sums in doing so. Click through for fine examples of silver, ceramics, furniture and other decorative arts from our Luxe: The Art of the Table sale, some of which were displayed at the most famous of these world’s fairs.