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75 Victorian Things: Cheshire siastically received by Nikolaus Pevsner in the 1960s when he described the corpus as a whole as “about the best of that time in England” (Pevsner and Harris 121).What Pevsner admired was the Suttons’ ability to closely imitate medieval glass, and, whether this criteria is valid or not, it is clear that they eventually managed to produce stained glass of an unusually high quality, particularly for amateurs. The Suttons’ enthusiasm for stained glass was symptomatic of a wider interest in the medium, an interest that cannot be explained away as just part of theVictorian preoccupation with the medieval period.To architects it provided a way of varying the quality of light entering a building and a vehicle for iconography.To anyone with sufficient money it offered a way of permanently commemorating a loved one in a public place.To artists, artisans, and designers , it constituted a new market, and the fact that stained glass represented a mutually beneficial cultural exchange for many Victorians is evident in the tens of thousands of windows commissioned, made, and installed during the nineteenth century. Notes 1 Thirty-one different amateur glass painters are mentioned in The Builder and The Ecclesiologist between 1840 and 1860: at least fourteen were females, and at least eight of the males were clergymen. 2 I am very grateful to the staff in the Lincoln Cathedral Glazing Department.Tom Küpper has been generous with his time and allowed me access to the relevant conservation reports, and I have also benefited from informative discussions with Stephen Lewis and Ellen Kharade. Works Cited Lincoln Cathedral Works Department: Glazing.“19th Century St Stephen’s Chapel Window ‘Elisha’ SG-12 (s14).” Lincoln Cathedral Works Department Archive, 2001. Middleton, Iris M.“Sutton, Sir Richard, second baronet (1798–1855).” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2004. Pevsner, Nikolaus, and John Harris. Lincolnshire.The Buildings of England. London: Penguin, 1964. • Stereograph Colette Colliga n • The following image of a man and woman in flagrante delicto is a hardcore stereo daguerreotype from the mid-nineteenth century. By looking through a stereoscope viewer or by adjusting the distance between eyes and image, a Victorian viewer would have seen the image in three dimensions. victorian review • Volume 34 Number 1 76 The principal focus is the two naked bodies in a coital embrace.The image is unconcerned with setting or props, offering only partial views of the patterned wallpaper in the background, the chair on which the couple sits, the mirror that reflects their image, and the woman’s white stockings.The mirror is the only inanimate object that signifies more than its materiality: it offers the viewer a different angle on the lovemaking, expanding the field of vision and thus adding to the illusion of depth.The naked bodies, headless and faceless except in the mirror’s reflection, are aesthetically uninteresting and socially unmarked.The woman’s swayed back perhaps fits into the aesthetic category of the female nude; however, the image offers few indicators of social, economic, or moral status.What instead catches the eye is the position of their body parts: the man’s awkwardly spread legs and grasping hands in the foreground, the woman’s protruding buttocks and arms reaching backward.These angles and contortions, much like the mirror, intensify the three-dimensionality of the image, inviting the viewer to peer into the image and see around the couple. The denotative function of the naked couple is unadulterated sex, but the connotative function is depth. This hard-core stereoscopic photograph, one of thousands circulating in nineteenth-century Europe and NorthAmerica, raises two important questions: why were stereographs so readily appropriated for the production of obscenity in the nineteenth century, and why did this form of visual obscenity not persist into the twentieth century? I contend that the stereograph reveals a brief Victorian fascination with the obscenity of depth, a technological phenomenon produced by the stereoscopic illusion of a primitive three-dimensional virtual reality, but largely forgotten with the modernization of obscenity at the turn of the century. Stereographs became synonymous with obscenity as they rose to spectacular popularity in Europe and North America during the 1850s and 1860s...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1923-3280
Print ISSN
0848-1512
Pages
pp. 75-82
Launched on MUSE
2015-10-07
Open Access
No
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