19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century, No 17 (2013)

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Moving Panoramas c. 1800 to 1840: The Spaces of Nineteenth-Century Picture-Going

John Plunkett


This article argues for the importance of a spatial approach in uncovering and examining the substantial exhibition history of optical and visual media between 1820 and 1914.  Its key contention is that the development of industries of touring and local entertainments, lectures, spectacles, and exhibitions, each with its own distinct, but overlapping institutional practices, cannot be understood without reference to the opportunities and challenges presented by the world beyond celebrated metropolitan shows. The bulk of this article is a study of the moving panorama c. 1800 to 1840 that seeks to exemplify the idea that where an exhibition took place was a determining factor not only in how it took place, but, more particularly, in the meanings it produced and the ways it was experienced by audiences.

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