The Painters' Panorama

Narrative, Art, and Faith in the Moving Panorama of Pilgrim's Progress

Jessica Skwire Routhier, Kevin J. Avery, and Thomas Hardiman

The Moving Panorama of Pilgrim’s Progress is an extraordinary 8-foot by 800-foot painting that was created in 1851 and thought lost for a full century. Rediscovered in 1996 and fully restored in 2012, it illustrates John Bunyan’s iconic book The Pilgrim’s Progress—first published in 1678 and in print continuously since then—a heart-stopping allegory of trial and faith in which the hero, Christian, battles giants, monsters, tricksters, and his own weaknesses to reach the Celestial City. Moving panoramas were a mid-nineteenth-century precursor to the motion picture, massive canvases that were scrolled across a stage and accompanied by a lecturer and music. One of only a handful that survive today, the Moving Panorama of Pilgrim’s Progress was one of the most popular and important moving panoramas of its day, with designs by rising luminaries of the Hudson River School of American landscape painting: Frederic Edwin Church, Jasper Cropsey, Daniel Huntington, and others. Scholars and fans of theater and film, panoramas, American art, religious studies, literature, and The Pilgrim’s Progress itself will value this beautifully illustrated volume.

Cloth: $35
ISBN-13: 9781611686630
Pages: 164 | Size: 10 in. x 7 in.
Date Published: May 5, 2015


  • The [panorama] is one of the pop wonders of the world.

    Wanda M. Corn
    author of The Great American Thing
  • Brilliantly illuminating the artistry, medium, and machinery of an innovative and widely practiced nineteenth-century pictorial technology, this gorgeously illustrated collaboration is a model work of detection, discovery, preservation, and interpretation. At the heart of this enterprise, the Moving Panorama of Pilgrim’s Progress exemplifies a form of popular entertainment that was as intimately connected to the growth of American fine arts as to burgeoning audiences for novel visual and performative extravaganzas. A highly recommended, significant history, sure to inform and fascinate scholars and the wider reading public alike!

    Sally Promey
    professor of religion and visual culture, Yale University
  • The panorama’s story - its spectacular debut, its disappearance, and its rediscovery - is remarkable in and of itself, but this is also a great museum story.

    Seacoast Online
  • The Painters’ Panorama traces the "progress" of the panorama: the creation of the painting, its’ travels, its’ rediscovery and the efforts by a dedicated group of people to preserve the painting and again bring it before an audience.

    International Panorama Council’s Newsletter

About the Author

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