Former Queen Guitarist Lends 3D Photo Collection to Tate

The stereoscopic version of Henry Wallis' The Death of Chatterton. Photo via: Wikimedia Commons.
The stereoscopic version of Henry Wallis' The Death of Chatterton. Photo via: Wikimedia Commons.

Brian May, the former guitarist of the rock band Queen, has lent a collection of rare stereoscopic images depicting Victorian paintings to Tate Britain, which will display them alongside the original paintings in the exhibition Poor man’s picture gallery: Victorian Art and Stereostopic Photography, opening next month.

The collection includes classic paintings such as The Death of Chatterton (1856) by Henry Wallis and Hearts are Trumps (1872) by John Everett Millais, which are part of the Tate collection.

Stereoscopic images, created by juxtaposing two photographs taken from a slightly different viewpoint, were hugely popular in the 1850s, when they could be purchased for a few shillings. “These photographs were a real craze all over the world in the 1850s and 1860s,” the Tate curator Carol Jacobi told the Independent. “This is the first major British gallery to focus on this form of photography. But they were seen as pretty disposable and are now quite difficult to track down,” she continued. “That’s why we collaborated with Brian May.”

May himself discovered his passion for stereoscopic images as boy, collecting 3D items that came in packets of cereals. His world tours with Queen enabled him to collect from all over the globe. He has built a collection of tens of thousands of stereoscopic photographs over 40 years.


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