Stereoscopic Views of the Crystal Palace.


Fred Peskett


Tremendous strides had been made in respect of photography since the 1851 Great Exhibition. When the Crystal Palace opened at Penge Place in 1854 many photographers opened studios in the galleries of the building. The Carte de Visite was a popular form of souvenir of the visit, these were usually about 3" x 2" with a view of the Crystal Palace, generally they were sepia toned photographs. Also available for sale were stereoscopic views, quite a marvel for their time, used with the special viewer they gave a perfect three dimensional record of the subject under view.

Crystal Palace Series.

The publisher of this series is unknown. They are identified by "CRYSTAL PALACE." 50 mm long in capitals with serifs and full stop, on the back. They are 6" long x 3" wide. Sepia stereos on yellow card. Square corners.

1. The Nave (looking north)

2. to 9. Unknown.

10. The Colossal Egyptian Figures.

11. Unknown.

12. The English Mediaeval Court. (Tomb of the Black Prince)

13 & 14. Unknown.

15. The Garden Gallery.

16. Unknown.

17. Avenue (in front of Fine Arts Courts)

18 to 21. Unknown.

22. Exterior of the Palace.(View of the South Transept and Tower)

23. Unknown.

24. The Egyptian Court.

25. to 32. Unknown

33. Monti’s Fountain and Byzantine Court.

34. to 37. Unknown.

38. The Screen of the Kings and Queens of England.

39. & 40. Unknown.

41. A Pieta by Bernini. In the Italian Court.

42. Unknown.

43. The Great Palm and Ninevah Court.

44. to 46. Unknown.

47. View in the Renaissance Court.

48. to 56. Unknown.

57. Avenue in front of the Sheffield Court.

58. to 62. Unknown.

63. General view in the South Transept.

64. General view in the South Transept.

65. to 66. Unknown.

67. General view of the Nave.

68. to 80. Unknown.

81. View of the Grand Vestibule.

82. to 145. Unknown.

146. The Greek and Roman Courts.

147. Unknown.

148. Sculpture in the Greek Court.

It is not known how far this series extends after number 148.

Phillip Henry de la Motte.

The work of photographer Phillip de la Motte is legendary, his photographs of the construction of the Crystal Palace between 1852 and 1854 together with his views once the Palace was opened are about the best there are. De la Motte also produced a series of twenty Stereographs for the Crystal Palace Art Union. Art Unions were formed in 1836, the first being the London Art Union. The Unions ran a form of an Art Lottery three or four times a year, with a subscription of one guinea per ticket. New works of art were commissioned such as an oil painting or a watercolour by a leading artist of the time as the first prize. Fifty second prizes were in the form of a limited number of a ceramic item commissioned from leading manufacturers such as Spode or Copeland, One hundred third prizes were ephemeral such as the stereoscopes by De la Motte. In some modern reference books his name is shown as one word Delamotte, De la Motte is the correct way to show his name.

De la Motte’s stereos are sepia on yellow card with square corners 6" long x 3" wide, all are serial numbered. The printing on the back reads:- "A Series of 20 views for the Stereoscope photographed expressly for The Crystal Palace Art Union" The dates of issue were between 1858 to 1866.

1. North Transept. Colossal figures from the Temple of Ramases.

2. The Renaissance Court. The Ghilberti Gates from Florence.

3. The Byzantine Court.

4. to 7. Unknown.

8. The Renaissance Court.

9. The Elizabethan Court.

10. Mediaeval Court. Easter Sepulcher from Hawton Church.

11. The Greek Court.

12. Unknown.

13. The Renaissance Court. Figures from the Tomb of Maximilian of Austria.

14. The Greek Sculptures.

15. Court of Monuments of Art. Tomb of Lady Abbess.

16. Mediaeval Court. Tomb of Humphrey de Bohun, from Hereford Cathedral.

17. Italian Court. Tomb of Lorenzo de Medici.

18. Mediaeval Court. Doorway of Rochester Cathedral, The Walsingham font, etc,

19. & 20. Unknown.

R. Gogerty. 72, Fleet Street, London.

R. Gogerty stereoscopic cards are in sepia, two types are known. Type 1. No serial Numbers, 6" long x 3" wide. Square corners, cream card. Type 2. Serial numbered, 7" long x 3" wide. Square corners, grey card. A Gogerty label is pasted to each one generally on the left side but can appear in many other places!

Type 1.

N.n. The Court of Lions.

Type 2.

1. The Byzantine Court.

2. The Egyptian Court.

3. Unknown.

4. The Italian Court.

5. Unknown.

6. The Renaissance Court.

7. The Egyptian Court.

8. Unknown.

9. The English Mediaeval Court.

10. The English Mediaeval Court.

11. Unknown.

12. The Assyrian Court.

13. The Egyptian Court.

14. The Egyptian Court.

15. Interior view of the Crystal Palace.

16. The Stationery Court.

17. Gallery of Greek Sculpture.

18. Gallery of Greek Sculpture.

19. Gallery of Greek Sculpture.

20. Gallery of Greek Sculpture.

21. The Byzantine Court.

22. The Byzantine Court.

23. The Italian Court.

24. The Italian Court.

25. Interior of the English Mediaeval Court.

26. to 29. Unknown.

30. The Egyptian Court.

31. Interior of the English Mediaeval Court.

32. Gallery of Greek Sculpture.

33. to 38. Unknown.

39. The Byzantine Court.

40. Unknown.

41. Interior of the English Mediaeval Court.

It is not known how far this series extends after number 41.


No serial numbers. Sepia on buff card, 6" long x 3" wide. Square corners.

N.n. Courage.

N.n. The Third Labour of Hercules.

N.n. Wallace and Bruce.

Negretii & Zambra.

No serial numbers or titles. Sepia on orange card. 6" long x 3" wide. Rounded corners. Negretii & Zambra, Photographers, Crystal Palace in double ring oval stamped on the back.

N.n. No title. (The fallen Knight)

S.P. Series, Stereoscopic Gems. The

No serial numbers. Sepia on brown card. 7" long x 3" wide, rounded corners.

N.n. Crystal Palace.

Standard Stereoscopic Company. The

Imprint down the right side reads ‘Honorable Mention by the Executive Crystal Palace Photo Exhibition 1893.’ and on the left side The Standard Stereoscopic Company. They are 7" long x 3" wide. Sepia stereos on buff card. Round corners.

N.n. No title (Hand written title in ink ‘Torquay’)

Stereoscopic Illustrations of the Crystal Palace, at Sydenham.

The publisher of this series is unknown, two types are known. Type 1. No serial numbers, 6" long x 3" wide. Sepia stereos on grey card. Square corners. Details and title on a printed label on the back. Type 2. Serial numbered, 6" long x 3" wide. Sepia stereos on grey card. Square corners. Number, title and about 14 lines of text on the back in English and French.

Type 1.

N.n. Tropical Department and Assyrian Court.

Type 2.

2. The Nave. Looking towards the North

Unknown Publisher.

No serial numbers. Sepia on cream card. 6" long x 3" wide. Square corners.

N.n. "Thesius". (Statuary Court)

Unknown Publisher.

No serial numbers. Black & white on white card, 6" long x 3" wide. Round corners.

N.n. Statuary at the Crystal Palace.

Unknown Publisher.

No serial number or title. Sepia on white card, 6" long x 3" wide. Square corners.

N.n. No title (Ostler's Fountain)

Unknown Publisher.

No serial number, no title. Sepia on black bordered card. 6" long x 3" Rounded corners.

N.n. No title. (The Crystal Palace from the Penge Entrance, showing the North Transept, but without the North Tower, pre 1866, There is a pub sign in the foreground with "Tavern" at the top, and a Brewer’s wagon is parked outside the gates).


             © Exhibition Study Group 2007