Stanhope canes

A Stanhope is a viewing lens with a microscopic Collodion photographic image attached on a glass. Antoine Rochard obtained a French patent in 1867 for objects fitted with Stanhopes. Stanhopes with a variety of photographic images, often erotic, were fitted to canes for the amusement of the wearer.

Description of pictures below. German Stanhope, 1875. German carved walking stick with two Stanhopes. Carved stag head 2″ below and on opposite side of modified pistol handle with antlers extending onto handle. 36 1/4″ in length. Approximately 1″ below scalloped collar made of a light-weight metal that is colored to look like brass. On three sides of the shaft are carved dog heads, staggered in height. The first micro image is located in the handle, narrow side of the pistol. There is a picture of “Hermannsdenkmal” (German for Hermann Monument). A second micro image hole shows a picture of Franz Hausmann. This image is located on the shaft behind the tongue of the biggest dog, which is also the topmost dog. There must be some connection why one stick would contain both pictures, and Jean Scott offers her opinion below. Although Hermannsdenkmal was started in 1838, it was not completed and open for the public until 1875. Possibly the stick dates to around 1875.

Per Jean Scott, author of the book “Stanhopes: A Closer View, “I have seen a couple more Stanhopes with two lenses. However, the carving on your example is wonderful, and almost certainly German in origin. Despite all my contacts, I have not seen another like it! What I find interesting is that one lens is in an obvious position in the wooden “ball” specifically carved for it, while the other is well-hidden – one could almost say it was secretly added to the cane and perhaps only the owner knew it had been placed there. I myself also researched the subjects of the micro photographs and read that Hermann Monument is situated in the Lippe area of Germany – while Franz Hausmann was a member of the Lippe Parliament, so that may be the link between the two images. As the monument was completed in 1875 and Hausmann died suddenly in 1877, the latter date may indicate that the cane was carved as a memorial soon after his death. I was also interested to discover that the “Herman Heights Monument” exists in New Ulm, Minnesota, USA, which was settled by German immigrants. Maybe the cane was made in Germany and brought to the USA by a German immigrant who shared Hausmann’s ideals.”

Youssef Kadri offers: “Stanhope canes are interesting and your example is a good one. They are entertaining and people like them. The motif and carving speak for the period you mention. Here, I have the feeling that the Stanhopes were added to the cane at the occasion of a visit to the monument. The owner eventually took pride in his visit, wanted to memorize it and share his experience with friends. The choice and fixing of the second Stanhope behind the tongue in the biggest dog speak for my speculation.”

I will continue my research and update this page when more is discovered!


For antique cane and walking stick enthusiasts