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The Poor Man's Picture Gallery

Stereoscopy Versus Painting in the Victorian Era
These astonishing stereo cards from Dr. Brian May’s collection reconstruct some well‐known Victorian paintings using real actors and staged scenes. The stereos are contemporary with the paintings, and the connections to the works of art were hitherto unknown outside the circle of specialist collectors of Victoriana. The photos were produced for commercial reasons — the advent of a new painting by a great artist was big news, but most people were not able to access and enjoy the new works of art. Entrepreneurial photographers of the day reconstructed the scenes, photographed them, and sold the stereo cards for profit. In addition to their beauty, they shed a light on the story of these famous paintings and reveal a great deal about the society of the time. The format is to show the painting itself, followed by the stereo card versions of that painting with explanatory text. The artists include Landseer, Maclise, Wallis, Millais, Calderon, Lane, Frith, Nicol, Leslie, Hunt, and the photographers were the most distinguished of that time. The book also reveals that stereo photographers drew their inspirations from illustrations — and more particularly from cartoons published in the satirical magazine Punch —, and that their work, in turn, inspired china figures known as “fairings.”
Brian May, CBE, PhD, FRAS is a founding member of Queen, a world-renowned guitarist, songwriter, producer and performer, also a Doctor of Astrophysics, 3-D stereoscopic photographic authority and a passionate advocate and campaigner for animal rights. Accomplished Astronomy student Brian’s PhD studies were stalled when a musical career superseded. The following four decades have seen Queen amass a staggering list of sales and awards with a catalogue that consistently tops popularity polls and sees Queen remain the most successful albums act in UK chart history. Brian has penned 22 Queen top 20 hits, among them the powerful ballads ‘Who Wants to Live Forever’, ‘No-One But You’ and ‘Save Me’, along with anthems ‘The Show Must Go On’, ‘I Want It All’ and ‘We Will Rock You’. He retains his keen passion for Astronomy and after a 30-year break returned to Astrophysics to update his doctoral thesis on the Motions of Interplanetary Dust, achieving his PhD from Imperial College, London, in 2007. 2018 celebrates the 10th anniversary of Brian’s publishing house, the revived London Stereoscopic Company. Whilst specialising in Victorian 3-D Photography, the LSC’s latest publication Queen in 3-D features previously unseen images alongside Brian’s narration of his childhood discovery of stereoscopy and through his life with Queen from the early 1970s to present day. All LSC books include Brian’s own design OWL stereoscopic viewer. More information on matters stereoscopic are available at Brian’s dedicated website, As a lifelong advocate of animal welfare, Brian set up the Save Me campaign to champion all, but predominantly British wildlife. Save Me works at grass roots level in conjunction with a local animal rescue and re-homing centre as well as being a player alongside the major animal welfare groups. Brian has been a leading inspiration in the fight against fox hunting and badger culling. Further information at, also Appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2005 for ‘services to the Music Industry’ and for his charity work, Brian is patron to a number of charities, also a vice president of the RSPCA. He greatly enjoys interacting with his fans, who can enjoy his updates and thoughts on twitter at @DrBrianMay and at
* Was the subject for a major public exhibition in the Tate Gallery in London. * The reproductions of these famous paintings are exceptional. Printing was in the UK. * "the Poor Man's Picture Gallery establishes an extraordinary framework of connections between stereo images and paintings, cartoons and theatre of the day" DAILY TELEGRAPH
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