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    [Vues d'Optique]. Four Perspective Views, Including Three of Paris, and One of Edinburgh.

    Four lovely hand-colored optiques, circa 1750-1810, on laid paper, featuring picturesque views of Paris and Edinburgh. All are in generally very good or better condition. Prints in this lot include: Vue des Montagnes de Belleville Près Paris. Attributed to Courvoisier and to Michon. Les Montagnes Russes à Belleville (the "Russian Mountains of Belleville") was an amusement ride in Paris that many consider to be the first ever roller coaster. Print is tipped to a sheet of heavy paper. Minor soiling with a couple of stains at the top corners. Half-inch tear at bottom edge, repaired on reverse. Approximately 18 x 12 inches. [and:] Vue du Jardin des Plantes prise du cabinet d'Histoire Naturelle. (Paris: Chez J. Chéreau, Rue St. Jacques.) A view of the gardens of Paris' Museum of Natural History. Print is tipped to a sheet of heavy paper. Some mild soiling and spotting, some of which is inside the platemark. Approximately 18.25 x 12.5 inches. [and:] Le Jardin, et le Palais du Luxembourg, a Paris. (Presentement chés Lachaussée, Rue St. Jacques; Paris: Chez Daumont, Rue St. Martin.) An attractive view of the Luxembourg Palace and Garden in Paris. Very light foxing; semi-circular area of discoloration at lower right corner. Print is tipped to a sheet of heavy paper. Approximately 17.25 x 12 inches. [and:] Vue de la Grande Rue et du Château à Édimbourg (title printed both below the image and, in reverse, above the image). (Paris: Chez Basset, Rue St. Jacques.) A lovely view of Edinburgh, the Castle and Princes Street in the background, and a boy flying a kite in the foreground. A couple of shallow creases to lower right corner. Approximately 17.75 x 12.25 inches. Colors of all prints are quite bright. All have light penciled notations.

    More Information:

    Vues d'Optique, also known as "perspective views" or "prospects," were popular in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. These hand-colored engravings of picturesque views such as town scenes, landscapes, and foreign and exotic architectural delights were widely collected, and viewing them was all the rage among the upper-classes as after-dinner entertainment. They were meant to be viewed through a zograscope (or "perspective glass"), a simple device comprised of a curved lens and a mirror, resulting in almost three-dimensional images. Similar prints were produced to be viewed though "peep show boxes" (also called "raree boxes"). Prints were inserted into these enclosed boxes, then viewed through a convex lens placed in a hole (or holes) in the box. As many of these prints had cut-out areas which were covered by colored paper or textured cloth on the verso, candles were necessary to provide a light source behind the prints; when viewed, it appeared as if colored lights were emanating from the almost three-dimensional prints. The popularity of these delightful prints was widespread, and these are examples of a fascinating cultural phenomenon that is now almost completely unknown.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2009
    16th-17th Friday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 706

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