The Magic Lantern - A Victorian Entertainment

As we've described earlier, one of the most straightforward effects was to fade out the daytime scene and bring up an evening or night scene. To ensure that the scenes were identical, they would be printed onto the glass slides from the same negative. The lantern slide artist would then paint the slides, one for the day and the other with some darker colours for the night. Adding a 'moon' was the usual way to enhance the effect!

This slide shows the 'Victory', Nelson's flagship, afloat in Portsmouth harbour, before she was moved into dry dock in 1922.

[HMS Victory]
[Animated skipping clown]
Slipping slides, using two or sometimes three pieces of glass, were another way of producing movement on screen. The clowns slide shown has all the picture- with two skipping ropes - on one piece of glass, and a blackout on another piece of glass. This blackout is moved to reveal first the skipping rope in one position and then the skipping rope in the other position.

Both the lanternist and the film projectionist have relied on the 'persistence of vision' - the fact that the human eye cannot see the gaps between pictures if they're shown fast enough. The invention of celluloid gave the film projectionist the chance to show many more pictures at a faster rate.

Next page
Previous page

[Poppyland banner]