Rock star Brain May renews his Victorian Double Act


1 1 August 2014 by Peter Warzynski

Brian May headshot

Queen’s Brian May, a man of many talents

A rock music legend and a Leicester academic have formed an unlikely friendship while resurrecting a unique type of Victorian picture book. Queen guitarist Brian May and De Montfort University doctoral student Denis Pellerin were brought together by a fascination and passion for stereoscopic pictures – three-dimensional images developed in the 1800s. The pair have already written one book together and are awaiting the release of a second, which will be launched in October.

Their publication, called Poor Man’s Picture Gallery, features 260 illustrations which are viewed through an stereoscope viewer designed by Brian. The pair have been working on the project for a number of years, finding and restoring the pictures. They are now hoping the rest of the world will become as enamoured with the subject as they are.

Brian said: “Some of these stereos are stunningly beautiful, viewed as they were intended, in full colour 3D. We hope this book is not only an account of a phenomenon, but a phenomenon in itself. We’re excited.”

The book shows paintings, illustrations and cartoons from Victorian times – and comes with a stereoscopic viewer.

Denis said: “Stereoscopic images have a magic of their own, a wow effect few flat photos can ever provide. When the stereo is good, you can actually walk into the image and explore it visually. There is so much to look at in a stereo and the best ones are those with lots of detail.”

The pair met in 2011 at a viewing of Brian’s stereo card collection. And despite the Queen guitarist’s celebrity reputation, it did not take long for them to hit it off.

Denis said: “When I met him, I found he was much more than a star and that I was facing an amazingly kind, brilliant, talented and humble person, a true gentleman, one with a real passion for stereo photographs who had managed to keep intact the wonder he felt each time he was looking at a good picture.”

The Queen guitarist was just as complimentary. He said: “I think it’s fair to say Denis has significantly changed my life – opened doors, made some dreams come true. It’s rare enough for me to find anyone who is as passionate about stereoscopic images as I am, but Denis also has a complete dedication to the subject.”

Brian has been collecting stereo cards and slides for about 40 years.

Poor Man’s Picture Gallery, published by London Stereoscopic Company is out on October 23. It costs £45.

Sample page Poor Man's Picture Gallery