The Magic Lantern Society  

New Light on Old Media  

Welcome to Issue 5 of New Light on Old Media

If there's a theme for this month's e-letter it's paperwork.

The image above was created by Fredrik Rysjdal who is a screen-based comic book artist and Research Fellow at the Bergen Academy of Art and Design. You can find an animated version of this hand-drawn lantern show with interactive parts on his site
Frozen Moments in Motion. In November there is a seminar ( Visibility) at the Academy in Bergen when Norwegian and other European artists will examine the legacy of the lantern show alongside more recent developments in screen based graphic narrative.

If you'd like to join the UK Magic Lantern Society and receive regular paper newsletters and attend our lively quarterly meetings in the UK, details are at the end of this e-letter. 

Mervyn Heard,

The Poor Man's
Picture Gallery



 Tate Britain in London are currently staging an exhibition exploring the relationship between stereoscopy and fine art, and featuring a number of items from ex-Queen guitarist Brian May's collection. There is also an accompanying book,
The Poor Man's Picture Gallery,
following on from his two previously successful publications, A Village Lost and Found and Diableries.  The exhibition Poor Man's Picture Gallery: Victorian Art and Stereoscopy runs through until April 1915 . On Tuesday 4th November
there is 
a free research seminar
on stereoscopy at the Tate from 13.00-17.00pm featuring various speakers.


Dutch Perspectives


Here is a first glimpse of the long awaited book on the history of visual entertainment in the Netherlands. The book was begun by Willem Wagenaar, the psychologist and consummate magic lantern entertainer, just prior to his untimely death in 2011, and completed by his widow Margreet Wagenaar-Fischer and the Dutch lanternist Annet Duller. Alongside the scholarship there is also  much information about Willem Wagenaar's own ingenious and witty re-imaginings of the ancient material in his collection.
The pictures in the book are plentiful, and the overall style yet another example of the exquisitely designed publications currently being produced by the Magic Lantern Society. It will be available directly from the Society in the next few weeks at the cost of £39.50 plus postage worldwide.


Pop-up Hitchcock 

If you haven't come across their work already you are earnestly requested to take a look at the mesmerising paper sculpture performances of Davy and Kristen McGuire from Bristol, in the UK. Their original performance piece The Ice Book, was first staged in 2009, and has now toured internationally. Live shows combine the constructs of the pop-up book with video-projection, or what is now termed 'projection mapping' in miniature. In 2003 these artists won the Oxford Samuel Becket Theatre Trust Award for their reimagining of Hitchcock's Psycho and are currently working on a Hitchcock trilogy.
You can watch 

Psycho - H
omage to Hitchcock 
on Vimeo, where you will also
find links to other examples of their work.
Or better still, visit their website 
Davy and Kristen McGuire

Silhouette of a Lantern Show


In slightly more traditional mode, the art of silhouette cutting was recently celebrated at the Holburne Gallery here in Bath.
You can read more about the Regency silhouette artist Auguste Edouart on the intriguing site of Mike Rendell, author of The Journal of a Georgian Gentleman, a book based on a collection of everyday papers spanning the period 1729-1801, belonging to his 4x great grandfather.


The Spirit of Montmartre


Anyone with a knowledge of the history of ombre chinoise entertainment will no doubt have heard of le Chat Noir , a nightclub established in Paris in the 1880's and of its extraordinary shadow show performances which were staged as part of the lively musical cabaret. 

Musée de Montmartre houses displays relating to le Chat Noir and other cabaret-based visual presentations of the period. And now is the time to visit the museum, since it has just re-opened (October 17)  in a much expanded form, having taken over the historic Demarne Hotel which will house its temporary exhibitions. The first of these is “The Spirit of Montmartre and the Modern Art (1875 - 1910)”  which runs until September 15th, 2015.

The Chat Noir exhibit includes various items on loan from another of Europe's great little museums, perhaps better known to members of the Magic Lantern Society, the Museo del Precinema in Padova, established by Laura Minici-Zotti in 1998. Laura owns 70 original shadow puppets and associated backdrops and designs similar in style to those shown at le Chat Noir.

Neverseen Books

Stephen Herbert, the publisher and author of various monographs and books on early cinema and other forms of visual history, has a new website for the curiously minded.  Here you will find all manner of re-discovered publications containing strange and interesting delights relating to everything from science fiction to early television. These are publications I can guarantee you will probably not find anywhere else and all for sale at popular prices.

Visit the site to subscribe for monthly updates



More About the Magic Lantern Society

If you have an interest in research or performance events involving the magic lantern or other forms of vintage visual media The Magic Lantern Society publishes a regular combined printed quarterly journal and newsletter. Our members also meet on a regular basis in the UK and intermittently at other locations throughout Europe. Every four years we hold a major international convention.

For further information about the Society visit our website:  

We also have a sister organisation The Magic Lantern Society of the US and Canada who may be found at this website:


Fading Memories

Andrew Gill sent me details of this intriguing, interactive online article from the Canadian Magazine The Atlantic. With a left click of the mouse you can transform each image, in the manner of a 19th century 'dissolving view', from a historical scene to a modern view of the same location, 50 years on.  All of the images are of British, American and Canadian troupe activity on the English and French coast during the  D-Day landings.

Scenes from D-Day: Then and Now

Starting with photo no 2, there are 21 photo pairs to animate


Weymouth seafront, England, in 1944 and in 2014

Fun for Winter Evenings
(1947 style)

Tired of paying ridiculous prices for lantern slides on ebay?
Ever thought about making your own slides?
Then take a look at this helpful film from 1947 





New Light on Old Media Issue 5, October /November 2014
Copyright © 2014 The Magic Lantern Society, All rights reserved.

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