Der Guckkasten

Einblick - Durchblick - Ausblick

Two peepshows

At the beginning of the 18th century optical discoveries and toys of later baroque days led to the creation of the peep show. Looking into the peep show case opened new perspectives and outlooks of hitherto depth unknown.


Professional operators roamed the country attracting their audience with mountebank promises. For an adequate fee they opened new vistas on their "rarities" and in an effort to enhance the visual experience the peep show man gave pertinent accompanying comments.

Savoyard with his peepshow

People at that time reacted with fascination to the possibility of seeing views of far-away cities, to witness catastrophes and to see through the peep hole worldly events of traditional subjects, be it from the Greek mythology of from biblical stories.


For simple people the peep show was of high entertainment value presented at fairs or similarily crowded places. Among the well-to-do people peep shows became some sort of pedagogic toy, a means to explore remote corners of the world or they became a warning witness of tragical events.


It was the fascinating strange mixture of the magical and the real which lent the peep show such a flourishing existence for some 200 years.


Polyorama Panoptique & Vue d'Optique