Daumont. "Vue d'optique" etching. London. 1751
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Directory: Fine Art: Prints: Etchings: Pre 1800: item # 1218771
Please refer to our stock # 73.5 when inquiring.
Vue d’optique, or perspective view, prints were made in the eighteenth century as a form of parlour entertainment, and also in travelling sideshows. They were viewed through an optical device called a zograscope. This consisted of a large magnifying glass and a mirror mounted on a stand. When the picture is viewed through the device, an illusion of depth is created, almost like looking at a three-dimensional image. The device reverses the image, which is why the top title and the orientation of the street in this print are back to front – looking towards St Paul’s, the Royal Exchange was actually on the other side of the road.
Vues d’optique were always drawn with exaggerated perspective to enhance the 3-D effect, and they are usually rather gaudily hand coloured, as in this print. The majority of these prints were made in France, Germany, England or Italy. This one is French, but evidently sold in England as it has an English publication line.
This print shows the Royal Exchange, looking down Cornhill (as it was) towards St. Paul’s Cathedral. The Royal Exchange was designed by Edward Jerman and built in 1669 to replace the earlier building which had been destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666. On the very top of the building you can just see the Gresham grasshopper, a heraldic device of Sir Thomas Gresham, founder of the original Royal Exchange. When this print was made, the building would have been emblematic of the new city that had been built after the calamitous Great Fire. Ironically, it too was destroyed by fire in 1838.
Overall good condition with good bright colours, the paper somewhat age-toned and foxed.
This is a genuine antique print, more than 250 years old. It is not a reproduction.
Please note that the digital watermark on the photographs here is NOT on the original print.
Unless otherwise stated above, prints are sold unmounted (not matted) and unframed. Photos showing a print mounted and/or framed are for illustration only unless specifically described otherwise.