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(CHINESE ART: VIEW-MASTER.) GARNER, Harry M., & Margaret Medley.

Chinese Art in Three-Dimensional Colour....

[With:] lighted GAF Corporation View-Master stereo viewer, with viewer stand, light control knob, extra lamp, brush to clean, cord, transformer with plug, preserved in original black cloth case, gilt lettering stamped on spine.

Availability: In stock

Published: London The Gruber Foundation, Inc. by The Asia Society, Inc., 1969

Stock Code: 126480

OR On display in 100 Fulham Road


First and limited edition, 1,000 sets published, complete with the Model D View-Master, the whole - books and View-Master - intended to be sold as a complete educational package. The View-Master system was introduced in 1939 after pharmacist Edwin Eugene Mayer teamed up with Harold Graves, president of Sawyer's, the manufacturer and retailer of postcards, slide projectors and related products. Graves's chance encounter in the Oregon Caves with William B. Gruber (1903-1965), an avid photographer, born in Germany and trained there as a piano maker, led to the invention of the View-Master, which was "first introduced at the New York World's Fair (1939-1940.) Made by Sawyer's Photo Services, the device showed stereoscopic three-dimensional pictures. Originally intended as an educational device for adults, the View-Master soon become a popular children's toy" (The National Museum of America online). In many ways the forerunner of the modern day virtual reality headset, the View-Master became an icon of American pop culture. This Model D version was produced between 1955 and 1972; the superior design issued with Chinese Art was mains-powered rather than hand-held and came with a stand so that it could be used more easily in conjunction with the books. According to collectors' website viewmaster.co.uk the Model D was "the only View-Master to have focusing eye-pieces the build quality was very high and it was considered to be the prestige item in the Sawyer's range of viewers".

By 1962, Gruber had completed his monumental Stereoscopic Atlas of Human Anatomy and was considering a similarly grand project, the photographing of Chinese art and artefacts in international public and private collections. However, Sawyer's were resistant to the idea and following Gruber's death in 1969, his widow, Norma, established the Gruber Foundation to ensure that the work was completed. Gruber had been experimenting with the new Kodachrome Type A No. 1 film which had just been released by Kodak. The images produced were of startling clarity and precision, and the new project was heavily encouraged by such institutions as the De Young Museum in San Francisco and the Victoria & Albert. Gruber's colleague Rupert Leach, director of photography at Sawyer's, oversaw production. The choice of authors was astute: Sir Harry M. Garner "collected oriental art and published extensively, producing standard reference works on blue and white ware, lacquer ware and cloisonné enamels" (The British Museum online); Margaret Medley was an expert on Chinese ceramics, later publishing the classic, groundbreaking study The Chinese Potter (1976). A fine set of this superbly produced work, presented here with all of the original packaging, complete with original View-Master.

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4 volumes, square quarto. Original green cloth, spines lettered in gilt on a black ground, housed in the original black slipcases, original plastic sleeves; lighted black Bakelite View-Master stereo viewer (with viewer stand, light control knob, extra lamp, cleaning brush, cord, transformer with plug, preserved in original black cloth case, gilt lettered); books and View-Master preserved in manufacturer's packaging and shipping boxes. 180 colour View-Master reels (preserved in numbered white sleeves attached to pastedowns of the four volumes).


180 colour View-Master reels (preserved in numbered white sleeves attached to pastedowns of the four volumes).


Very slight discoloration of electrical connections on plug & transformer, yet View-Master and books in fine condition.


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