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John House Stereograph Collection


The collection bears the name of the British art historian who collected it over a period of more than four decades, John House (1945-2012). The collection, acquired for the FSU Department of Art History by Jennifer S. Pride as part of Professor House’s estate, represents the late scholar’s efforts to establish a digital database of stereoscopic views available to scholars worldwide.

Stereoscopy marks an important landmark in the history of photography and continues to inspire scholarly research across a wide range of disciplines. Invented by Sir Charles Wheatstone in 1840, stereoscopy was one of many scientific breakthroughs of the Victorian era. It is a technique whereby two photographic images, each taken from a slightly different perspective, are juxtaposed on a single card to create the illusion of depth. When the card is viewed through a stereoscope viewer, the image appears in three-dimensions.

House’s carefully curated collection comprises nearly 2,000 views of nineteenth-century Paris. This unique collection serves as primary visual documents of Paris before, during, and after Napoleon III and Baron George-Eugene Haussmann’s extreme urban renewal project, known as Haussmannization (1853-70). These online materials highlight the premier status of the Florida State University program in Art History, one of the oldest and highest ranked programs in the Southeast. The collection provides archival objects that complement our specialized curricula in Modern European Art, Architecture, and Urbanism, History of Photography, and Museum and Cultural Heritage Studies.