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Polyorama panoptique.

France, 1850s.
Physical Description:
1 optical toy : wood, paper, glass ; 23 cm high x 27 cm wide x 17 cm deep (closed) and 13 slides : hand-colored lithography ; 19 x 24 cm
Rare Books and Manuscripts
Flat B 13
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
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Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
Three-Dimensional Artifacts
Title from printed label on device top.
The Parisian optician, Antoine Louis Lemaire, is credited with earliest invention of a similar device.
Hyde, R. Panoramania, 115
The device consists of a wooden box with a viewing lens attached to a paper bellows on the box front. The box back has wooden slot for the insertion of purpose-made slides. The back and top have hinged openings, allowing the user to control the degree and direction of light, thereby creating night and day scenes for each slide. For night scenes, small pricks in the slides create the effect of street lights, windows, or other sources of illumination.
Optical toys.

  • Slides: Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile
  • Boulevard des Italiens à Paris
  • La Bourse de Paris
  • Café des Ambassadeurs, Champs Elysée (Paris)
  • Palais Royal, Jardin et Galerie vitrée
  • Parc de St. Cloud, Grandes Eaux (Paris)
  • La Place Vendôme (Paris)
  • La Rue de Rivoli (Paris)
  • Le Chateau de Chambert, Le Chateau de Chenonceaux (France)
  • La Tamise, Le Tunnel (London)
  • De Liège à Aix-la-Chapelle
  • Baie de Naples et Vesuve
  • Eglise à Madrid.

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