Some coffee table books worth savoring “Diableries”


Life & Arts
8 December 2013 by Colin Dabkowski | News Arts Critic




One of the more delightful art books of 2013 has to be “Diableries” (The London Stereoscope Company, $60), an exhaustively researched and devilishly engrossing look at the strange, stereoscopic hellscapes that were extremely popular in the late 19th century.

This book is the product of a whole host of twisted minds. (!!) Three of them are from our century: Brian May, the former Queen guitarist and astrophysicist, who spearheaded the project; Dennis Pellerin, a French photographic historian and expert in stereoscopy; and Paula Fleming, an American photo archivist. The rest are largely from 19th century France, where 3-D visions of hell – populated with skeletons and demons in every imaginable configuration and situation, most of them more funny than frightening – were a gruesome form of entertainment

. The book comes with its own fancy Victorian stereoscope viewer, which brings to full three-dimensional life hundreds of stereoscopic images that fill the book, each one with copious commentary on its meaning and history. Anyone with a morbid side or even a mild curiosity about the strange habits and fascinations of Victorians would do well to invest in a copy.