Perspective Views – Armchair Traveling in the 18th Century
Perspective Views (Also: Optical print, vue perspective, vue d’optique or in German, Guckkastenblättern) were meant to be seen with a special viewer or Zograscope to enhance the three dimensional effect. They were very popular in the 18th and 19th centuries. They were designed according to strict principles of linear perspective, with a distant object placed in the center of the print, as is the case with this example.
Viewed through a special “machine,” the three dimensional effect was enhanced. The colors of these wonderful old prints are often bright and naive, as for children’s illustrations. Traveling vendors — who went around to fairs offering views of the images through the Optical Machine for a few pennies — often did the handcoloring themselves, so it tends to be a bit rough compared with other period engravings. In our view this adds to the charm of these pieces!