Victorian London - Entertainment and Recreation - Museums, Public Buildings and Galleries - The Cosmorama

Cosmorama, The, Regent Street ... Admission 1s.

The Cosmorama, Regent Street, presents correct delineations of the celebrated remains of antiquity, and of the most remarkable cities and edifices in every part of the globe. The subjects are changed every two or three months; it is, altogether, a very beautiful exhibition.

Mogg's New Picture of London and Visitor's Guide to it Sights, 1844

COSMORAMA (THE), Nos. 207 and 209, REGENT STREET. Intended primarily for exhibiting views of remarkable scenes in different parts of the world, but chiefly used as ordinary exhibition rooms.

Peter Cunningham, Hand-Book of London, 1850

COSMORAMA (Exhibition) in Regent Street. displaying views of several objects worthy of the scientific and curious. There are two galleries, in which there are convex lenses for vicuna the several objects.

London Exhibited in 1852

THE COSMORAMA, though named from the Greek (Kosmos, world; and orama, view, because of the great variety of views), is but an enlargement of the street peep-show; the difference not being in the construction of the apparatus, but in the quality of the pictures exhibited. In the common shows, coarsely-coloured prints are sufficiently good; in the Cosmorama a moderately good oil-painting is employed. The pictures are placed beyond what appear like common windows, but of which the panes are really large convex lenses, fitted to correct the errors of appearance which the nearness of the pictures would else produce. The optical part of the exhibition is thus complete; but as the frame of the picture would be seen, and thus the illusion be destroyed, it is necessary to place between the lens and the view a square wooden frame, which, being painted black, prevents the rays of light passing beyond a certain line, according to its distance from the eye: on looking through the lens, the picture is seen as if through an opening, which adds very much to the effect. Upon the top of the frame is a lamp, which illuminates the picture, while all extraneous light is carefully excluded by the lamp being in a box, open in front and top.
A Cosmorama was long shown at Nos. 207 and 209, Regent-street, where the most effective scenes were views of cities and public buildings. Cosmoramas have also formed part of other exhibitions. - At the Lowther Bazaar, 35, Strand, the "Magic Cave" (cosmoramic pictures) realized 1500l. per annum, at 6d. for each admission.

John Timbs, Curiosities of London, 1867