Paper Theatre of Constantinople

[Constantinople Peepshow]. La Fête du Bairam à Constantinople. / Das Bairams-Fest in Constantinopel. / The bairam ad Konstantinople.

[Germany?, ca. 1835].

Oblong 8vo (168 x 228 mm). Hand-coloured lithographed upper cover and 7 hand-coloured lithographed scenes bound concertina-style and extending to approximately 850 mm.


A fine example of a peepshow, consisting of six cut-away scenes and one back scene on the inside of the lower cover. When viewed through the holes in the upper cover, a lively, three-dimensional scene is revealed, a festival crowd in a long street of Constantinople, terminating at the port.

"Paper peepshows developed out of sturdier 18th-century peepshows, in which views were slid at regular intervals into a rigid box made of wood or cardboard, with the peephole located at one end. In the example below, several scenes have been combined into a larger frame. The layered structure of the peepshow was inspired by Baroque stage sets where the decor was painted onto a series of parallel planes that moved along grooves set in the stage" (Victoria & Albert Museum).

Some soiling and wear to cover, bellows intact, minor damage to a few figures, minor spots of toning. An intact example of a fragile piece. No copies recorded in OCLC.


Hyde, Gestetner Collection, 103.