Poor Man's Picture Gallery: Victorian Art and Stereoscopic Photography

Tate Britain

13 October 2014 – 12 April 2015

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Exploring the 19th century craze for three dimensional photography through a collection of originals belonging to musician Brian May.

Henry Wallis, Chatterton, 1856

Queen guitarist Brian May first became interested in stereoscopic photography while eating Weetabix. The free 3D cards buried inside the cereal packet sprang to life when seen through a special viewer, and his fascination with them. Over the last 40 years he has amassed an unrivalled collection of Victorian originals, including rare examples sourced from dealers across the world.

The optical illusion is created when two pictures of the same image – taken from slightly different angles – are viewed through a stereoscope. It was the subject of a major craze in the early 1850s; photographs were circulated widely thanks to their minimal cost of just a few shillings a piece. Celebrated artworks by Henry Wallis, William Powell Frith and John Everett Millais were recreated in this way.

This is the first exhibition devoted to 19th-century stereoscopy in a national gallery. It brings together Tate’s Victorian and Pre-Raphaelite works with their three-dimensional doubles, which have been assembled by the star.

Venue information

Opening times

Daily, 10am – 6pm (last admission 5.15pm)
Closed 24 – 26 Dec

"Art Fund" is the operating name of the National Art Collections Fund, a charity registered in England and Wales (209174) and Scotland (SC038331)