Augsburg: Martin Engelbrecht, [c. 1750 ]. First edition. 6 panels, 5 in. x 3 in. Each panel richly hand-colored to produce a scene of people strolling around a large fountain topped with a bronze statue. First five panels cut out to reveal the following card; last panel is whole to provide a background. A few small chips, including the face of the man on first card. Lacking the two ribbons that originally connected the cards. A very good, vibrant example. Hand-colored prints mounted on board, as issued. Reinforced on versos with later board. Contemporary manuscript numbered labels pasted down on versos. With modern box for display. Item #16853
Martin Engelbrecht (1684 - 1756) and his brother Christian (1627 – 1735) established their printing house in Augsburg in 1719. By 1730, Engelbrecht had innovated his miniature theaters, the earliest of their kind, and he and his printing house had produced thousands by the 1770s. Engelbrecht and his printing house produced thousands of these theaters with little to no competition, likely as a result of Engelbrecht’s royal privilege for the exclusive production of cutout images (Stafford, p. 336). Other examples showed Biblical events like Noah leading the animals to the ark and lavish scenes of bourgeoise amusement like the present item; another series was devoted entirely to the Italian theater. Englebrecht’s theaters were the forerunners of the peepshow books popularized by Dean & Son of London during the mid-nineteenth century.
OCLC records one copy at the Canadian Center for Architecture. Stafford, Barbara Maria. “Perspective Theaters.” Devices of Wonder (2001).