Gold metal and shimmering nacre binoculars

When the Barcelona bourgeoisie attended opera performances at the Liceo, they would wear their best clothes and often used binoculars, an accessory that allowed them to see everything that was going on around them, whether it was the stage, the stalls or the orchestra.

These binoculars, which have recently entered the Collection thanks to a donation, are made of gilded metal and a large part of their surface is covered with iridescent polished nacre plates, giving them an exceptional beauty.

They include an inscription with the name of the French optician Crispé Espouy who, with his brother Josep Maria, manufactured and sold optical devices such as eyeglasses, magnifying glasses, thermometers, barometers, hygrometers and hourglasses. They were established at 70th and 77th Escudellers Street in Barcelona, where they had taken over the legacy of the optician Joan Baptista Bellán. The brothers published the interesting booklet “Higiene de la vista”, a treaty that summarized the main works of the best oculist opticians and that they distributed free of charge among the citizens.

These binoculars, which can be dated from the last quarter of the 19th century, had a cost that was only within the reach of the wealthiest, being a luxury object, of serial production, but with handmade details.


Ajuntament de Barcelona