Victorian Stereoscopy, Burr Michael (1826-1912), ‘Fallen Leaves’Regular price Price on Request
© The Brian May Archive of Stereoscopy
Digital archival fine art print hand signed by Sir Brian May
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Accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity
The mass-adoption of photography and stereoscopy allowed Pre-Raphaelite artists to use friends and acquaintances as models, frequently positioning them in inventive and expressive new poses. Despite being carefully composed, most aimed to create scenes that felt spontaneous and natural.
Michael Burr was an expert at creating these forms of narrative compositions for his stereoscopic images. In the Victorian era and even to this day, the idea of Fallen Leaves has been commonly used to symbolize the end of a cycle and due to the gravestones in this print, it is an obvious reference to death.
In John Millais’s 1856 painting, ‘Autumn Leaves’, we see a group of girls gathering around a pile of fallen leaves, with smoke emerging from the pile which signals the death of their innocence as they transition toward womanhood. When Millais’s painting was displayed at the Royal Academy in 1856, art and literary critic Joanna Boyce noted that the painting communicates a "depth of feeling", rather than a "depth of thought". Similarly, Burr’s 'Fallen Leaves' does not appear to be an intellectually challenging piece, but rather an emotionally evocative one.
Some time in 1854, at 313 Oxford Street, the 'London Stereoscope Company' was born, and under the leadership of Managing Partner George Swan Nottage, by 1856 the company had changed its name, to 'The London Stereoscopic Company”' and finally in May 1859 assumed the name it was to retain for years to come: the 'London Stereoscopic and Photographic Company'.
Their business was selling stereo views and viewers to the public, and they were leaders in a boom – a craze - which swept England, Europe, and eventually the United States too, of stereo photographs of every conceivable subject, which, viewed by means of a stereoscope, presented scenes in life-like three dimensions. In a world which had never experienced Television, the Movies, or the Internet, this was understandably a revelation. In February 1856, the London Stereoscopic Company (LSC) advertised, in the Photographic Journal, 'The largest collection in Europe, upwards of 10,000' stereo views.
Much of the workings of the LSC in its early years is still shrouded in mystery, and the relationship it had with the pioneering photographers whose work it published remains unclear, but the company was evidently at a peak of production by the end of the 1850s; today’s collections of the finest cards from this period by James Elliott, Alfred Silvester, Mark Anthony, Charles Goodman, and many others always contain large numbers of examples bearing the familiar blindstamps of the LSC. In the 1860s, one of the LSC’s notable publications of stereo cards was a long series depicting the interior of the 1862 International Exhibition, in what is now Exhibition Road, South Kensington.
All Queen and Victorian fine art prints are selected and hand-signed by Sir Brian May, and are accompanied by a gallery certificate of authenticity, a Queen stereo card pack and a Lite Owl Viewer, designed by Brian May.
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