Our Zograscope Viewer


In the 18th and 19th centuries a device with a lens and mirror called the zograscope was used to give an illusion of depth to hand colored engravings called vue d’optique prints. The zograscope is placed over a hand colored print so that the print is reflected in the mirror held at an angle. The spectator looks into the magnifying lens on the front of the instrument to view the reflection. The lens and mirror impart a quality of depth to the flat print. These instruments were popular parlor amusements in the 18th and early 19th centuries. It is a sort of peepshow without the box.

It is not uncommon to find one in an antique market incorrectly identified as a "shaving mirror" or with some other use attributed to it.

The title of the print is often written or printed in reverse so that it can be read correctly in the mirror reflection. We keep our eyes open for prints with reversed titles and have purchased a few. Our prize is the zograscope view of Daguerre's Diorama in Paris shown on another page.

We bought the example on the left in England in the 1980's. At 25 1/2 inches tall it was too big to pack in our bags so it traveled back to the US sitting on the floor between our feet. With today's airline rules I am sure this would not be allowed.

Below is a vue optique titled "La Perspective du superbe Parterre du Jardins du Roy de Pologne en Saxe" on the lower margin. It has the expected reverse printing at the top. This reads "Vue du Jardins du Roy du Pologneen Saxe". We do not understand why there is two different spellings, Pologne/Pologneen, for what we understand to be French for Poland.

Below left is a view of the print reflected in the mirror of the zograscope.

Zograscope View
Optical Toys in our collection *Expanded and updated 10/1004
Persistence of Vision Toys
- The Thaumatrope
- The Zoetrope
- The Praxinoscope
- The Phenakistoscope
- Flip Books
Our Peepshow Toys
- Diorama Prints
- Peepshow Changing Views
- Peepshow images
Our Zograscope Viewer < You are Here
Our Magic Lanterns
- Magic Lantern Graphics
- Magic Lantern Slides

Return to The Collection of Collections page

Collection of Collections Site Map

Contact us at studio@brightbytes.com

**NOTE** All items on the Collection of Collections web site are in our private collection and are NOT for sale. From time to time duplicate items from our collection will be offered for sale in the Do You Remember This? shop on the GoAntiques cyber mall. Visit the Do You Remember This? inventory page for photographica and toaster related collectibles.

Please feel free to write us if you want to chat or share information about areas we collect but we will NOT give appraisals.

© Bright Bytes Studio - Do not use images without permission

Updated on 7/2005