Diableries, Stereoscopic Adventures in Hell by Denis Pellerin, Brian May, Paula Fleming

What are Diableries?

Fascinating stereo cards, which were made exclusively in France, beginning in the 1860s, and continuing on until around 1900.  The cards, called ‘Diableries’ (which translates roughly as ‘Devilments’) depict a whole imaginary underworld, populated by devils, satyrs and skeletons which are very much alive and, for the most part, having fun.  

The cards are works of art in themselves, and are known as FRENCH TISSUES, constructed in a special way to enable them to be viewed (in a stereoscope) illuminated from the front, for a normal ‘day’ appearance in monochrome, or illuminated from the back, transforming the view into a ‘night’ scene, in which hidden colours magically appear, and the eyes of the skeletons leap out in red, in a most macabre way !

Collectors prize these cards, which are quite delicate, and must be handled with care, in order not to damage them.   

The scenes depicted in these Diableries were made in clay, on a table-top, with amazing skill, by a small bunch of gifted sculptors, and then photographed with a stereo camera. The resulting stereo pair of prints was made on thin albumen paper, and water-colours were applied – not to the front surface, as in the case of normal stereo cards, like the ‘Scenes in Our Village’ cards shown elsewhere on this site – but to the back of the prints. The eyes of each skeleton were then pricked out with a sharp instrument, and small pieces of red gel, or blobs of reddened varnish, were applied to the back of the pricked holes. Behind this pair of prints was added a layer of tissue paper, which hid the ‘works’ to the rear surface of the view. The print and the backing tissue were then mounted together, sandwiched between two cardboard frames  each with twin cut-out ‘windows’ for the prints, and the whole was glued together to make a French Tissue stereo card.

Original post — Read on www.londonstereo.com/diableries/index.html

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