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Two men in a yard or field of straw, one seated on an upturned wheelbarrow the other standing by a fence.
The Straw Yard, by TR Williams ‘Now that at length his harvest work is done, / His straw-yard yielding shelter from the sun'

Now that at length our harvest work is done

Well done on reaching this stage! If you haven’t yet finished each activity then you can still go back and do so.

For those who have completed each step, congratulations!

Denis Pellerin mentioned in The Victorian Stereo Sensation that everything under the sun, even the sun itself was photographed for the stereoscope. We don’t have stereos of the sun, but we thought you might enjoy a selection of lunar glass stereos, as course draws to an end.

These lunar glass stereos are by Warren de la Rue (1815-89) a wealthy amateur astronomer, who successfully developed astro-photography in Victorian Britain. To produce convincing stereo images of the Moon, de la Rue selected and paired images, often taken months apart. De la rue’s stereo images were also published as pairs of stereo-albumen prints.

Image: Stereograph of Lunar photography, positive glass stereograph, by Warren de la Rue, published by Smith, Beck and Beck, London, 1858 IL.2003.44.7.290 © Howarth-Loomes Collection at National Museums Scotland

Image: Stereograph of Lunar photography, positive glass stereograph, by Warren de la Rue, published by Smith, Beck and Beck, London, 1858 IL.2003.44.7.369 © Howarth-Loomes Collection at National Museums Scotland

The stereocard craze began to decline in the late 1860s, although stereo continued to be produced in to the 20th century with a revival at the turn of the century. As we have seen, stereoscopy influenced later developments such as 3D film and Google Cardboard (other methods are available). The London Stereoscopic Society, established in 1854 was dissolved in 1922, but restored under new management in 2008 and today is led by Dr Brian May CBE and Denis Pellerin - see London Stereoscopic Company

Over the past two weeks, we have understood how stereoscopy works, how stereo images trick us in to seeing in 3D. We have followed the rise of stereo photography, from the rare and expensive daguerreotypes and stereo ambrotypes, through to albumen prints and French tissue stereos.

We have also explored the work of some of the foremost practitioners of stereo photography, people who travelled the world to capture images, created their own elaborate still lifes and humorous comments on contemporary life or were inspired by art and literature.

We hope you’ve enjoyed finding out about stereoscopy in the Victorian period in this short course. Should you wish to find out more about stereoscopy - Victorian stereo photography - we hope you’ll find the resources below useful.

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Further reading

Blog: The Everyday Victorian by Maya Hoole, exploring stereocards and carte-de-visite

William C. Darrah, The World of Stereographs (W.C. Darrah Publisher, Gettysburg, PA. 1977).

John Hannavy, Encyclopedia of Nineteenth Century Photography (Routledge, 2008).

Douglas R. Nickel, Francis Frith in Egypt and Palestine: A Victorian Photographer Abroad (Princeton University Press, 2004).

Brian May and Elena Vidal, Village Lost and Found: “Scenes in Our Village” by TR Williams. An Annotated Tour of the 1850s Series of Stereo Photographs

Denis Pellerin and Brian May, The Poor Man’s Picture Gallery: Stereoscopy Versus Paintings in the Victorian Era (Exeter: The London Stereoscopic Company, 2014).

Brian May and Denis Pellerin Crinoline: Fashion’s Most Magnificent Disaster (Carlton Books, 2016).

Roger Taylor, George Washington Wilson: Artist & Photographer (1823-93) (berdeen University Press, 1981).

Julia Van Haaften, Egypt and the Holy Land in Historic Photographs: Seventy-seven Views by Francis Frith (Dover Publications, 1980).

Paul Wing, Stereoscopes: The First One Hundred Years (Nashua, NH: Transition Publishing, 1996).

‘By Royal Appointment: Aberdeen’s Pioneer Photographer. George Washington Wilson, 1823-1893. Papers from a conference organised by the University of Aberdeen to celebrate the life and work of Scotland’s pioneer photographer’ published by the Centre for Scottish Studies, University of Aberdeen, 1997.

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This article is from the free online course:

Stereoscopy: An Introduction to Victorian Stereo Photography

The University of Edinburgh