A Description of a view of Thebes, now exhibiting at the Panorama, Broadway, corner of Prince and Mercer Streets, New-York

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By the 1830s, Frederick Catherwood was one of the most famous travel artists in the world, known particularly for his masterly use of the camera lucida in creating his works. A number of his illustrations, including Thebes, were converted into panorama paintings by Robert Burford. This fact raises questions about the changing status of the camera lucida, an amateur device now in the hands of a world-famous professional artist, as well as about the tension between the use of the camera lucida to depict reality and its incorporation into the overwhelming visual experience of the panoramic landscape.