657. [Optics]

Polyorama Panoptique.

[France], ca. 1840

Front handle missing, some sm. wear. Otherwise, in good condition and entirely functional.

An apparatus for household or family use between 1820 and 1850 and inspired by the public shows of the zograscope. It is a portable box with a lens in front which provides optical views.The illustration card would be inserted at the back of the box, which would be held up to the light. It would then be viewed through the lens. Most cards would be designed to include small cut-out parts through which the light would pass. Other parts of the cards may be made of thinner material to create a glowing effect. The empty parts would typically represent windows or street lights, so that the card's scene would appear to be illuminated by light from these sources. The cards were designed to change appearance depending on which door was opened, so that a scene might appear to alter, for example, from a daytime to a nighttime view. The viewing device comes with a printed set of instructions (in German, French and English) attached to the back of the box, demonstrating how to use it. Includes eight hand-coloured engraved slides with representations of Naples, Salzburg, London bridge, a burning castle, a church interior, a Dutch village, Chinese mandarins and a court room scene. The box includes the copper handle for the upper door, which is often missing.
Ref. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyorama_Panoptique.

€ 300 / 400

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