Auction 134, Lot 416

"Prospectus Abbatii Westminster et Ecclesice Sanctae Margaritae Londinensis",

Subject: London, England

Period: 1780 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

15.3 x 9.3 inches
38.9 x 23.6 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.

The beautiful Abbey, established in 960, is well rendered in this dramatic engraving. In the background is shown St. Margaret's Church which stands between the Abbey and the Houses of Parliament, and is commonly called the "parish church of the House of Commons." The foreground is filled with people in fine costume and other common workers, even a one-legged beggar appealing to two fine ladies. A solid red flag flies over St. Margaret's Church. This example does not have reversed text as commonly seen for proper viewing when projected for the audience.


Condition: B

Full margins and very nice original hand coloring including gauche. With scattered foxing, more in margins.

Estimate: $200 - $300

Sold for: $110

Closed on 12/1/2010