Piku-Piku & the International Exhibition

No, we’re not about to uncover a new batch of PokéMinton hidden away in photographs of the International Exhibition of 1862. “Piku-Piku” actually means “twitching” in Japanese and, along with our feature image, might just give you a clue as to where this particular post is headed…

Many blog posts ago we linked to a stereo view of Minton majolica at the International Exhibition of 1862, one of a number of international exhibition -related items within the Minton Archive. This view was one of 350 produced by the London Stereoscopic and Photographic Company during the exhibition and requires the use of a special viewer called a stereoscope to turn the “left eye” and “right eye” views into a single three-dimensional image. Of course, if you don’t happen to have a stereoscope tucked away in your bits-and-bobs drawer (no, us neither) you might think that the magical element of this stereo view will remain locked away forever. Enter Piku-Piku to save the day!

Piku-Piku – or, more commonly, “wiggle stereoscopy” – combines the left and right views into a fast-moving animation to create the illusion of 3D depth without the need for special equipment. It’s not quite as immersive as a traditional stereoscope but it does mean we can share this magical stereo view on the blog. In fact, if you own a 3D TV or Nintendo 3DS/3DS XL you can even download matching 3D image files to display this scene on your chosen device* – from the 19th to the 21st century, just like that!

However, one particularly important majolica piece from the 1862 Exhibition isn’t present in the image above. Described at the time as “the most important work perhaps ever produced in regard to [majolica]” (SD 1705/MS196), Minton’s St. George’s Fountain stood 30 feet (9 metres) high underneath the exhibition’s Eastern Dome and was unsurprisingly photographed by the London Stereoscopic and Photographic Company on a number of occasions. Unfortunately none of these stereo views made their way into the Minton Archive collection but we’re keeping our eyes open for a freely-available image of a stereo pair we can work our Piku-Piku magic on.

* Your TV will need to be able to read and display MPO files; for 3DS & 3DS XLs check out the included readme file.