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    [Vues d'Optiques]. Georg Balthasar Probst. Two Vues d'Optique of Ancient Palmyra. Two 18th century hand-colored optiques featuring views of ancient Syria. Both in generally very good condition.

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    Georg Balthasar Probst (1673-1748). Two views, including: Prospectus generalis Palmiræ, ab partis Septentrionalis. [and:] Urbs antiqua Palmira sicut stat usque hoc tempore. Both views are fully mounted on heavy cardstock, presumably as issued (such was a common practice at the time). Both lightly soiled. Light penciled notations. Prospectus generalis Palmiræ measures approximately 16.25 x 12.25 inches; Urbs antiqua Palmira measures approximately 15.75 x 12.25 inches.

    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.

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    Auction Dates
    October, 2009
    16th-17th Friday-Saturday
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