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Paper peepshow - The Cheltenhamorama, a View of the Old Well Walk
  • The Cheltenhamorama, a View of the Old Well Walk
    Lamb, Henry
  • Enlarge image

The Cheltenhamorama, a View of the Old Well Walk

  • Object:

    Paper peepshow

  • Place of origin:

    Cheltenham (published)

  • Date:

    ca. 1832 (published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Lamb, Henry (publisher)

  • Credit Line:

    Accepted under the Cultural Gifts Scheme by HM Government from the collections of Jacqueline and Jonathan Gestetner and allocated to the Victoria and Albert Museum, 2016.

  • Museum number:

    Gestetner 227

  • Gallery location:

    National Art Library

In the 18th century, the small rural town Cheltenham enjoyed a boost of popularity thanks to its spa water dispensary. The original Cheltenham spa was the Old Well, which quickly became renowned for its healing virtues following its discovery by local farmer William Mason in 1716. The retired sea captain Henry Skilicorne developed it into an attraction in the late 1730s to 1740s, adding to the site the Old Well Walk, a 900 yard-long avenue of elm trees. The spa became the ‘Royal Well’ or ‘King’s Well’ after King George III came to take the waters from it, and its fortunes were further boosted by this royal endorsement.

Henry Lamb was a Cheltenham artist and print seller, who published two sets of prints ca. 1825 and 1833, both entitled ‘Views of Cheltenham and its Vicinity.’ The Old Well was featured in both sets, and one can see the composition in the representation of the tree-lined Old Well Walk clearly echoed in the paper peepshow here. The coinage of the word ‘Cheltenhamorama’ reflects Lamb’s intention to link the paper peepshow with other popular optical devices of the period, all bearing the suffix ‘-orama.’

Another paper peepshow by Lamb in the Gestetner Collection bears the same title (Gestetner 226), although all images are different.

Physical description

Accordion-style paper peepshow showing view of the Old Well Walk.

6 cut-out panels. Hand-coloured lithograph. In a slipcase. Expands to approximately 69 cm.

Slipcase: pink board with title on a pink label.

Front-face: a view of trees, bushes, and hollyhocks. The peep-hole consists of a hole in the bushes.

Panel 1-4: an avenue of trees with men and women promenading. A dog accompanies them except for on Panel 2.

Panel 5: original Royal or King’s Well with three women and a dog in the foreground, and the Long Room on the right.

Panel 6: women strolling and resting along the avenue, with a child and a dog.

Back panel: mostly likely to be Crescent Terrace, flanked by trees on both sides; the spire of St Mary’s Church in the back.

Place of Origin

Cheltenham (published)


ca. 1832 (published)


Lamb, Henry (publisher)


Height: 15 cm, Width: 10.8 cm, Length: 69 cm fully extended

Object history note

Part of the Jacqueline and Jonathan Gestetner Collection, collected over 30 years and given to the V&A Museum through the government's Cultural Gift Scheme, 2016.

Descriptive line

The Cheltenhamorama, a View of the Old Well Walk. Lamb, Henry, ca. 1832

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

R. Hyde, Paper Peepshows. The Jacqueline and Jonathan Gestetner Collection (Woodbridge: The Antique Collectors' Club, 2015), cat. 227.




National Art Library; Optical toys; Paper Peepshow


National Art Library

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