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A Family at afternoon tea

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    New York (City) (made)

  • Date:

    1855-1860 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Underwood & Underwood (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Albumen prints mounted on glass

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case X, shelf 546, box A

Object Type
A stereograph is a pair of photographic images of the same subject taken from slightly different angles. This gives the illusion of a single three-dimensional image when viewed through a stereoscope designed to hold it. Sometimes these images were coloured by hand in paints or inks to make them more life-like. The colouring here of the carpet, tablecloth, walls and curtains brings out the detail in the heavily-patterned interior typical of the mid-Victorian home.

Ownership & Use
Stereographs were mass produced. Viewing them was a popular amusement carried out in the home from the 1850s until the early 20th century.

Subjects Depicted
In this image, a group is posed taking tea from a silver tea set and china cups and saucers. Domestic scenes of a model family like this - or of the institutions of society such as school, church or marriage - were typical subjects of popular stereographs.

Physical description

Stereoscopic photograph

Place of Origin

New York (City) (made)


1855-1860 (made)


Underwood & Underwood (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Albumen prints mounted on glass


Height: 8.4 cm, Width: 17.3 cm

Object history note

Stereoscope made by Underwood & Underwood, New York, USA; stereographs by various photographers

Descriptive line

Stereoscopic photograph 'Family at afternoon tea in colour', made by Underwood & Underwood, New York, USA, 1855-1860

Labels and date

British Galleries:

Various dates, 1854-1901

This stereoscope is typical of those used in Victorian homes for education and amusement. Stereographs (paired photographs taken from slightly different angles) were placed in the holder and then adjusted until the viewer saw the scene in three dimensions. [27/03/2003]




Albumen process

Subjects depicted

Rooms; Teapots; Chairs; Tableware; Men; Teacups; Wallpaper; Children; Tables (support furniture); Clothing; Tablecloths; Saucers; Women


Photographs; Interiors; Tea, Coffee & Chocolate wares


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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