Telescopic View of London and the Thames


Telescopic views like this were produced by many publishers in the mid-19th century, celebrating the progress and ingenuity of the Victorian world both with their content and their form. 

They consisted of five or six pieces of card, illustrated with hand-coloured lithographs, connected by strips of cloth. They fold up flat for storage or transport, but when opened out give a three-dimensional effect. (Stereoscopes, which used optics to allow each eye to view a different image to produce a sense of depth, were being developed at about the same time.)

The images might depict events, such as the openings of the Thames Tunnel or the Great Exhibition of 1851 (also published by Lane), or views of general interest, such as St Mark’s Square in Venice or the Exhibition’s ‘Crystal Palace’.

This example depicts central London from the Duke of York’s Column in Carlton Gardens. The column is still there today.

Full title:
C.A. Lane's Telescopic View of London and the Thames, from the Duke of York's Column, Carlton Gardens
estimated 1851, London
Games and toys / Illustration / Image
C A Lane
Held by:
British Library

Related articles

Putting topography in its place

Article by:
Felicity Myrone

Felicity Myrone explores how the ‘placing’ of topography and the collections’ perceived status and current accessibility at the British Library is the result of complex and often unintentional sequences of events.

Henry Mayhew’s London Labour and the London Poor

Article by:
Mary L Shannon
London, Poverty and the working classes

London Labour and the London Poor is a key work in the development of investigative journalism. Dr Mary L Shannon describes how Henry Mayhew conducted numerous interviews with street-sellers, sweepers and sewer-hunters, in order to share their stories with the reading public.

Related collection items