"Vue de la Place de Grosvenor a Londres",
Subject: England, London
Period: 1761 (dated)
Color: Hand Color
15 x 8.5 inches
38.1 x 21.6 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 view shows Grosvenor Square, the large garden square in the exclusive Mayfair district of London. It was the centerpiece of the Mayfair property of the Dukes of Westminster and was one of the most fashionable residential addresses in London during the eighteenth century.
The chimney smoke appears to be an addition to the print, perhaps by the colorist. There is some surface soil and a pencil notation in the bottom margin. It is backed with old gray paper, probably as issued.