Critics and historians have often described the late nineteenth century as an unmistakable cultural turning albeit of a shadowy nature. This chapter is concerned with changes in the language of observation as well as in the perception of perception itself in that period. It asks whether a more complex understanding of the processes which enable us to make sense of visual phenomena coalesced with an increasingly intricate understanding of the construction of the mind. The aim is also to sketch some of the key reference points we need in order to analyse this putative transformation in the story of the eye.