Camera Lucida


The U.S. Military Academy acquired this fairly large camera lucida in 1830. One inscription reads "Vincent et C. Chevalier / Quai de l'horloge N 69, à Paris." Another reads “C. CHEVALIER / 829.” Vincent Chevalier, a noted optical instrument maker in Paris, based the form on the design introduced in 1819 by Giovanni Battista Amici (1786-1863), professor of mathematics at the University of Modena. It has a heavy glass prism and two external optical elements: one has a clear lens and a blue glass filter; the other has two blue filters.

Ref: John Hammond and Jill Austin, The Camera Lucida in Art and Science (1987), pp. 37-41.

Vincent Chevalier, Notice sur l’usage de la Chambre Claire (Camera Lucida) (Paris, 1834).

J. G. A. Chevallier, Le Conservateur de la Vue (Paris, 1815), pp. 305-309.

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: France: Île-de-France, Paris

Subject: Science & Scientific Instruments


See more items in: Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences


Exhibition Location:

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: PH.315419Catalog Number: 315419Accession Number: 217544

Object Name: camera lucida

Physical Description: brass (overall material)Measurements: overall: 10 19/32 in x 3 3/4 in x 1 3/4 in; 26.924 cm x 9.525 cm x 4.445 cmoverall: 1 3/4 in x 10 1/2 in x 3 7/8 in; 4.445 cm x 26.67 cm x 9.8425 cm


Record Id: nmah_1184187

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.