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  • Place of origin:

    New York (City) (made)

  • Date:

    1860-1870 (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.

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. On the reverse of this stereograph is a quote from a poem by William Cowper:

'Tis pleasant through the loopholes of retreat,
To peep at such a world, to see the stir
Of the great Babel, and not feel the crowd'.

The lines refer to the pleasure of viewing this bustling city scene in comfort through a stereoscope (the 'loopholes of retreat') without physically having to jostle with the crowd.

Subjects Depicted
This stereograph is from a series entitled 'Instantaneous Views of London'. The word 'instantaneous' reveals that an important selling-point for such photographs was that they quickly captured a moment in time. In this case the crowd and carriages of a busy London street are frozen in motion.

Physical description

Stereoscopic photograph

Place of Origin

New York (City) (made)


1860-1870 (made)


Underwood & Underwood (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Albumen prints mounted on glass

Marks and inscriptions

Number 57 from the series 'Instantaneous views of London'


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 of St Paul's from the foot of Ludgate Hill, made by Underwood & Underwood, New York, USA, 1860 - 1870

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

Cathedrals; Streets; Buildings; Cityscapes




Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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