A perspective view is a form of print specifically designed to be viewed through a series of mirrors and lenses, set up to create an impression of depth. Typically etched into a copper plate, the perspective view presents subjects whose setting is architecture or a landscape with especially straight lines. The few but intense colours are added by brush. With the accentuated lines, they help to reinforce the sense of perspective and illusion of reality that is created by the reflected projection.
Perspective views were a real societal phenomenon in Europe beginning in the first quarter of the 18th century, where they were produced in large numbers and disseminated for nearly a century. Peddlers installed their optical devices on public squares, so the working classes in the cities and the countryside could enjoy them at markets and fairs. The images played a semi-informational role for the European populations as they portrayed historical events and topical scenes. They also depicted the most famous monuments and views in Europe and the Orient, similar to the postcards we send today. And like postcards, they helped to spread knowledge and fantasy in the West about very far-off regions like the Far East.