Auction 124, Lot 416

"La Douane de Londres sur las Tamise",

Subject: England, London

Period: 1770 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

15.3 x 10.6 inches
38.9 x 26.9 cm

Optical prints (or vue d’optique) were made to be viewed in a special apparatus that provided the viewer with an illusion of depth (early 3-D). The large mirror employed in the viewing machine showed the image reversed so many of these views have the titles and information engraved forward and backwards to facilitate viewing in the machine or by hand. These prints were only produced for a short period of time (1740 to 1790) and then were replaced with the invention of the smaller steroviewer. These views are some of the most distinctive and interesting images of the eighteenth century, and their distinctive engraving style, striking perspective and bright original color makes them as visually delightful as they are historically fascinating.

This is a handsome view of the Customs House docks on the Thames in London. The scene is filled with activity and a variety of boats. The French title at top is engraved in reverse and the titles at bottom are in several languages.


Condition: B+

Lightly toned with a slight mat burn in the margins. There is some minor discoloration in the sky.

Estimate: $275 - $350

Sold for: $200

Closed on 5/7/2008