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The Stereoscope was a middle-class device that was to be found in the parlours of the bourgeoisie both in Britain and in France. Unsurprisingly, most of the images made for this “magical instrument” had the middle-class as their target audience and definitely catered to their tastes and aspirations.
However, there exists a fairly large number of stereoscopic pictures representing working-class women, mostly seamstresses, laundry girls, fishwomen, farm lasses and female servants. The reasons behind these representations are as varied as the occupations illustrated.
With 3-D images from Dr. Brian May’s extensive collection photo historian Denis Pellerin will show how the Victorians evidently admired the strong, healthy-looking and independent fishwives, took a real interest in the working conditions of the seamstresses, found laundresses titillating, had idyllic notions about life in the countryside and were, in some way, fascinated by their servants whom they often feared as much as they distrusted … or sometimes desired them.
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