Isaac and Ede Antique Prints
Vue d'Optique: Royal Exchange


Vue de la Bourse Royale a Londres

15.5 x 9.75 inches

A hand coloured copper plate engraving depicting the Royal Exchange looking down towards St. Paul's Cathedral, published inParis circa 1750.

These optical views, or perspectives as they were commonly called, originated in the early eighteenth century, initially as part of the London topographical print market, and then from the 1740’s onwards they reached new heights of popularity in cities such as Augsburg and Paris. They were typically horizontal in orientation, firmly engraved with lines of perspective and strongly coloured, initially depicting the capital cities of Europe but later embracing more exotic locations from around the world. As people moved around Europe these views became increasingly popular as an entertainment once the traveller had arrived home. In the wealthy drawing rooms of London and Paris these prints would be produced after dinner along with an optical viewing device known as a zograscope or viewfinder. These devices would comprise a lens and a mirror thus reversing the image upon the paper and creating an enhanced perspective for the viewer to enjoy. They continue to provide us with a fascinating record of European cities in the latter half of the eighteenth century and remain as visually appealing as they are historically fascinating.


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