Les Diableries: 3-D Views of the Underworld

Diabolical visions of Hell spring to life in this eye-popping collection of stereoscopic images from Victorian France.

Mid-19th century France oozed excess and luxury; glasses overflowing with red wine sat atop dinner tables stacked with exquisite soufflés, bowls of cassoulet, and tarte tropienne.

While the gluttonous, and often corrupt, ruling class dined happily on this hedonistic lifestyle, some viewed such excesses as wicked – even on par with the Devil himself.

It was from this outlook that the stunning Diableries series was born.

Diableries, or “devilments,” were stereoscopic images made with great skill by a select set of sculptors and photographers. These artists satirized the lavish life of aristocrats in Victorian France – but instead of crafting human caricatures of corrupt politicians and the decadent bourgeoisie, they fashioned ghostly skeletons with sneering grins and gleaming red eyes.


Today, few are familiar with the delicate process behind these hellish images – intricate dioramas were first sculpted in clay and then reproduced in eye-popping 3-D by a special method of photography. Thankfully, the London Stereoscopic Company has rescued the Diableries from the basement of the past, shining a new light on these otherworldly scenes.

In their book, Diableries: Stereoscopic Adventures in Hell, 180 infernal images spring to life – literally. The book includes its own stereoscope to view the prints in 3-D, with the placement of one’s light adding an eerie new dimension to the experience.

Illuminated from the front, each scene appears in standard day-mode monochrome. Lit from behind, however, the view transforms into an unnerving night scene, with eyes pricked red and ethereal colors materializing upon the page.

The images below are just a small sampling of the handmade hellscapes that await you. View them here and then peer into the London Stereoscopic Company’s collection for an interactive experience with these diabolical moments. Afterward, get your own copy of the book from LSC, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.

  • Diableries: “Enfer Colour”

  • Diableries: “Les Vendanges en Enfer”

  • Diableries: “Les Regates à Satanville”

  • Diableries: “Salle de Jeux chez Satan”

  • Diableries: “Les Pompiers de L’Enfer”

  • Diableries: “Revue de la Garde Infernale”

  • Diableries: “Chemin de Fer Infernal”

  • Diableries: “Course de vélocipèdes Enfer”

  • Diableries: “Les Cocottes chez Satan”

All images courtesy of the London Stereoscopic Society

Published on 6 Jul 2015