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The magic lantern shows.....
The Magic Lantern!
Magic lantern slides depicting a magic lantern or a magic lantern scene.

Very old lantern slide from around 1700 with the image of a laterna magica from that time. Painted by hand.


French magic lantern slide entitled 'LA LANTERNE MAGIQUE et LE MONTREUR D'OURS' from the manufacturer Lapierre. A man carries a cage with a rabbit inside; another man comes running with a magic lantern in his hand. The caption to this scene is 'Kerisse' (?). Dimensions 6.5 x 27 cm.

A 'montreur' is someone who performs with curiosities, such as bears, puppets and ... the magic lantern.
Two French magic lantern slides, probably from the manufacturer Lapierre, ca 1890.
In the top image (part of a longer slide) we also see a man running with a magic lantern and here too the magic lantern is aimed at a bird cage with a rabbit inside. That can't be a coincidence, can it?!

On the bottom slide a magic lantern by Lapierre, here written with one R, is driven around on a cart. The slide is part of a set of 12 slides.

Hand-painted single slipping slide showing a lanternist during his performance. Size is 7" x 4" (18 x10 cm).
This slide is very similar to the one above.

The name of the manufacturer is stamped into the frame:

And this single slipping slide also looks like the slides above. These slides were painted by hand and the artist was given a lot of freedom in using colours and changing details.
Illustration: Magic Lantern Museum Heiloo  

The well-known explorer David Livingstone preaching the biblical story of Abraham and his son Isaac in Africa. The Christian missionary used the magic lantern as a way to tell Bible stories.
It is reported that panic broke out among the native onlookers when rather terrifying images suddenly appeared on the screen. Livingstone had to explain that there was no magic involved but only simple technology.


Victorian hand painted magic lantern slipping slide showing the image of a lanternist. When the slipping glass is operated the projected image of a Dutch windmill appears. It measures 7"x 4" (18 x 10 cm). 

Daddy gives a performance. Single slipping slide.

Wooden framed hand painted single slipping slide of a lanternist. c. 1880.
The slide measures 18 x 10 cm approx.

Single slipping slide. We are probably a witness to a spiritualist sťance here, in which the spiritualist conjures up the spirit of the woman's husband, a deceased soldier. This is done with the help of the magic lantern that is placed behind the woman.

The magic lantern was more often used to summon 'spirits'.
On the right a slightly different version of this slipping slide. The man here is dressed in civilian clothes and other colours have been used for the other people and attributes. Here too we see the freedom the artist had when painting his slides.
Illustrations seance: Magic Lantern Museum Heiloo
At first glance it appears to be a very ordinary magic lantern slide with a Christmas scene. But when we zoom in on the table with Christmas presents, we see a small magic lantern next to the Christmas tree. A gift that the whole family would enjoy.

Illustration: Collection Christiaan Huygens Theater, Zeist, NL.
This extraordinary lantern slide from the collection of the Christiaan Huygens Theater shows how a lanternist gives a performance at the home of a wealthy family. In the first scene we see a lady looking out of a window, under which a itinerant lanternist passes with a magic lantern and a box with other supplies on his back. He is followed by a boy with a hurdy-gurdy.
The lantern slide is a panoramic sliding slide with all moving parts painted on a single glass plate. By shifting the glass, the lanternist's face and torso can move, one of the attendees raises a hand, 'projected' images appear in the circle, the master of the house pays the lanternist afterwards while the maid pours the man a beverage. Finally, the lanternist and assistant are seen out by the host and his wife. A very complex sequence of actions that unfortunately cannot be fully displayed on this screen.
A hand-coloured photographic magic lantern slide showing a lanternist operating a Riley Kineoptoscope projector, c. 1897.

This slide is part of the Science Museum Group Collection.

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Last update: 10-03-2024.
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