Zograscope - Antique and Vintage Cameras


Image of Zograscope

Pedestal viewer with pivoted mirror, convex viewing lens, telescopic column fixed by wooden screw, turned wood decoration and inlay, lead-weighted base. 23" high, 4 ¼" diameter lens, 7 ¾" x 5 ¾" mirror.

This type of optical viewer, known as a Zograscope or Diagonal Mirror, was popular from the mid 18th century through to the mid 19th century. The large viewing lens allowed both eyes to be used when viewing the print, this helped give an illusion of depth to the print. The angled mirror allows the print, known as a perspective view or vue d'optique, to be laid on a table behind the viewer. The example shown is typical of this type of viewer.

Prints intended for the Zograscope generally show architectural subjects with strong perspective, lettering on the print is usually laterally reversed at the top of the print so that it can be read when looking through the Zograscope as well as being written normally below the image. The subject itself may also be reversed.

Vue d'optique

Image of Vue d'optique

Vue intérieure de la cathédrale de Dorth. Late 18th - early 19th century.
Coloured engraving. 396 x 282 mm image 417 x 298 mm sheet size. Text below image no title above the engraving.
Publisher Jean-François Daumont. Engraver Laurent Pierre Lachaussée. Printer Paul-André Basset.

These prints were for use in an optical viewer either a Peep Box or a Zograscope. They generally show architectural subjects or views with strong perspective. They are strongly engraved with solid outlines and hand coloured with gaudy unrealistic colours.

Prints intended for use with a Zograscope tend to be of better quality and more finely executed with better colouring. As well as the main text below the image they also have a laterally reversed title above the image that can be read whilst being viewed. The subject itself may also be reversed.

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