A complete annotated collection of the original 1850s stereoscopic photograph series Scenes in Our Village by T. R. Williams brought together for the first time in living memory
For the young Brian May, a fascination with 3-D picture cards given away in Weetabix packets led to a lifelong passion for â€˜stereoscopicâ€™ images. Soon May was taking sequential pictures with his Woolworthâ€™s 2/6d camera and making pairs of sketches that transformed into 3-D scenes when he â€˜relaxed [his] eyes and let the images float togetherâ€™. Later, he scoured antique shops and auctions for stereoscopic photographs and the â€˜viewersâ€™ that enabled him to see the images in all their glory. It was in this way that May discovered the work of Thomas Richard Williams (1824-1871), who, in the 1850s, had created a series of 59 stereo cards depicting life in a small English village â€“ Scenes in Our Village.
The book gives an exceptional insight into everyday village life at the time – with a woman at her spinning wheel, the blacksmith outside his smithy, three men at the grindstone sharpening a tool, the villagers in the fields, bringing in the harvest as well as often taking time to enjoy a good gossip.
In every case the original verse which accom-panied the view is reproduced, enriching the picture by revealing the inner thoughts of the subjects, or transforming it into a comment on Life, Nature, or the Spiritual World. In addition, May and Vidal have researched and annotated all the views, revealing another layer of meaning, by exploring the history of these real characters, this idyllic village and its links with the present day. The result is a powerfully atmospheric and touching set of photographs.