Louis Wain, genre photographs, but no fairies

identifier 2014096 INFANTS’ MAGAZINE

The Infants’ Magazine Annual for 1904, being a collection of the 12 monthly issues for 1903. Vol. XXXVIII Publisher S.W. Partridge & Co., London. Hardback, colour cover. Size: 177 x 223 mm. 190+ pages, with illustrations on every page, several in colour (black/blue/red).

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Prominent in this annual is the work of Louis Wain, famous cat artist. He contributes the main title page and numerous sketches throughout. More unusually, a photograph of the artist also appears.

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I was also struck by the fact that almost all of the photographs of child studies in this book are credited to Miss K. Grant. It must have been unusual at that time for a woman to have had the facilities, presumably some kind of studio, to produce genre pictures like this. The simple portraits remind me of some of the sentimental child studies by photographer and magic lantern slide publisher Owen Graystone Bird, from the same era.

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The narrative scenes (see below), some with painted backdrops, are reminiscent of the Life Model magic lantern slides popular at that time, though cropped much tighter.

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The subjects of the painted backdrops, representing a poor person’s kitchen, for instance, are different from those in a typical Victorian / Edwardian portrait studio. I wonder whether anyone has researched Miss Grant? Without a complete first name, or location, that would be difficult.

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With the adoption of halftone photographic images in periodicals becoming much more widespread about this time, these photographs are evidently a challenge to the more traditional artworks of the same subjects. This can be clearly seen here with the similarities between Grandma’s Valentine (photo) and the following page Granny’s Recovery (painting); and Spring Flowers (drawing), and the opposite page A Secret (photo).

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Another point of interest is the lack of fairies (gnomes, elves, whatever). With the exception of The Fairies’ Postmen, I can’t find any.

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The book is stuffed with pictures (photos, drawings) and stories of dolls on what seems like every other page, but the fairies that would soon become so ubiquitous in children’s books haven’t yet arrived – here, anyway. Perhaps this was due to the shadow of publisher Samuel William Partridge (1810-1903) – by then retired, and who died the year these magazines were printed – who was a devout evangelical Christian and probably couldn’t be doing with fairies. Maybe it would take the imminent appearance of Tinkerbell to ensure frequent appearances of the fairy folk in periodicals and annuals.

The Infants’ Magazine is not a very scarce title, but finding particular issues – especially in good condition – can be difficult. Apparently people used to give these books to young children to play with. (Note: The BL has it as The Infant’s Magazine.)

Condition: Generally good, as shown. Pages tanned, as expected. The binding is very loose, but still holding everything together.

Price: £32.00 plus postage. Enquiries: s-herbert@easynet.co.uk

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Death of Cromwell – hand painted magic lantern slide

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identifier: 2014095 DEATH OF CROMWELL [SOLD]

Death of Cromwell. Magic lantern slide. Hand-painted, anonymous artist. Title hand-written on paper label on bottom edge of binding.

This scene of Oliver Cromwell’s death – from urinary tract problems, apparently – is from an unknown series. Buried in Westminster Abbey, when Royalists returned to power he was dug up, his remains hung in chains, and beheaded. Just to make sure.

Thousands upon thousands of so-called “hand painted” lantern slides are sold on ebay each year. Some are indeed fully hand-painted, and these fall mostly into three categories: 1) early caricatures, stories etc painted on “long slides”. 2) simple cartoonish slides showing a visual joke, often with mechanical movement (e.g. “slipper” slides). 3) very fine hand-painted scenes produced by Carpenter and Westley and a few similar companies. Most of these types are mounted in wood frames.

Other slides described as ”hand-painted” are mostly either cheap chromolithographic slides (i.e. “transfers”), or slides of drawings produced by printed or photographic outlines in black, which are then coloured in by hand.

Here’s an unusual exception: a standard 3.25 x 3.25-inch slide, not framed in wood, that’s fully hand painted. An exquisite little miniature on glass, from c.1890. The paints used would have been a type of coloured varnish. Painting on glass to this standard is a lost art.

Very good condition.

Price: SOLD

Making matches, c.1900

Identifier: 2014093 MATCH MAKING LANTERN SLIDES

As I struck a Swan Vesta match to light a bunch of sparklers for this year’s Guy Fawkes celebrations it occurred to me that we hardly ever use matches these days. Fewer open fires, cheap petrol lighters for lighting cigarettes (and less smoking), no paraffin stoves. Those little wooden splints were once a ubiquitous part of everyday life, and produced in huge numbers – millions per hour from one factory. Famously, the Match Girls’ Strike of 1888, ‘caused by the poor working conditions in the match factory, including fourteen-hour work days, poor pay, excessive fines and the severe health complications of working with white phosphorus, such as phossy jaw…’ [Wikipedia] invigorated the campaign against the use of white phosphorous, which was eventually made illegal. I wonder in what context these slides were most often shown?

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Matchmaking. Fifteen glass 3.25inch x 3.25inch photographic magic lantern slides, showing the industrial process of making matches and matchboxes. Newton & Co, Covent Garden, London. These slides were made c.1912, from photographs taken at that time or a few years earlier.

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I bought these slides around 30 years ago, and I have not seen another example of any of them since. They comprise an extraordinary record of a German match-making factory around 1900, showing the various areas where different parts of the processes were carried out. The printed text commentary states that “Red phosphorous is now greatly used instead of the white kind, and is much freer from dangerous fumes.” The type of phosphorous used by this particular factory is not stated. When we examine these images the dangers of exposed machinery make us wince, but they were of course universal at this time.

 

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This is evidently the same set that was advertised by York & Son, with a reading included in the booklet Glassware [and other titles. n.d.]. A copy of the reading has survived, and is listed on the Lucerna website, which can be accessed by members of the Magic Lantern Society (UK). Non-members can contact database editor Richard Crangle for details of how to obtain the reading.

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This set comprises 15 of the original 19 slides. The fifteen slides present are:

1. Slicing into layers

2. Cutting into splints

3. Cutting up remnants into splints

4. Sorting the splints

5. Piling the splints in uniform heaps

6. Putting the splits into dipping-frames

7. Paraffining and sulphuring

10. Cutting chipwood for match-boxes

11. Making the sides of the boxes without the bottoms

13. Mechanical manufacture of the drawers or insides

14. Mechanical Manufacture of cover or envelope of drawer

15. Sanding the sides of the boxes

16. Laying the coat of antimony on the box and drying it

17. Box-drying apparatus, &c

18. Boxing the matches

Numbers and titles are written in manuscript in white ink on the black paper masks, but are in some cases illegible.

A rare set. I do not know of another. The images above this point have been cropped to show details. Uncropped pictures of each slide are shown below.

Condition: Generally very good. No cracked glasses apart from one small corner crack to one slide, outside of the image area. Browning of image edges in some cases. Some passe-partout edging paper has been replaced, some is missing.

Price: £280 plus postage.      Enquiries: s-herbert@easynet.co.uk

Uncropped slide images (in no special order):

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The suffragette and the policemen

Magic lantern slide, Suffragette and policemen, c.1908-1914. English, publisher: Newton & Company, 72 Wigmore Street, London, W. Cinematographer [image taken from 35mm film] not known. Size: 3.25 x 3.25 inches.

When I found this glass slide, the image looked vaguely familiar. Research uncovered what I thought was the same photograph, but it was very slightly different – taken a fraction of a second later. Then it occurred to me that both pictures were printed from a strip of motion picture film. The footage is here (at 1:33).

I’ve not been able to identify the suffragette, but hundreds were arrested in the years immediately before the First World War. The actual slide dates from the period.

Those who lectured on the women’s suffrage movement, in both Britain and the USA, are known to have often used lantern slides – for example:

‘In February 1910 Bertha Mason (prominent activist) gave, as a lecture to the Bath NUWSS society, an account, accompanied by lantern slides, of the forerunners of the contemporary suffrage movement. She also gave this “limelight lecture”, which was described as “Pictures of unique interest to the forerunners of the movement, the advance guard, the parliamentary champions, the present day workers, election incidents”, to members of the Croydon branch of the NUWSS and to the Mansfield Suffrage Society. It was eventually published in book form in 1912…’ [The Women’s Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide 1866-1928, by Elizabeth Crawford]

The particular address for Newton & Co. appears to have been first used in 1912, so this slide was most likely produced c.1912-14.

Slides of the Suffrage movement are difficult to find today. Very good condition.

Price: £25.00 plus postage s-herbert@easynet.co.uk

ART DECO magic lantern CINEMA SLIDES

A giant (so it seems) grasshopper (cricket?) waits in the grass, a crisp essay in vivid greens.

A society couple stand whispering beneath the trees in the moonlight, while somewhere nearby, perhaps, the band plays on.

A man in a dapper suit sits with his coffee and reflects. A single thin line of smoke curls from his cigarette. Is this Rick, long after the customers have gone home, thinking of Ilsa and the sacrifice he must make tomorrow?

What are the origins of these images? Just another day’s work for some anonymous artist trying to (literally) scrape a living?

ART DECO MAGIC LANTERN CINEMA SLIDES

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Three lantern slides in Art Deco style. Size: approx 3.25 x 4 inches. I have given these the titles:

1. Grasshopper (hand coloured).

2. A couple in the monlight (black-and-white).

3. The man in the window (hand coloured).

These striking images were intended for projecting in British cinemas during the interval, usually while the organist played. (These are 3.25 x 4 inches, a common size used in cinemas.) Lantern slides in cinemas were mostly shown to advertise commercial products or forthcoming films, but these examples seem to be much less common ‘mood’ slides. They were produced by the Morgan’s Projected Publicity method; a semi-opaque ‘paint’ covered the glass, and when dry was scratched through. The precision of the scratched lines suggests the use of a stencil or pantograph. The result was then hand-coloured, when required. Two of these examples include, on an internal label, the patent number 216349, which relates to this technique. A new printout of the patent will be included.

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Very scarce. The chances of finding other examples showing the same images are very slim.

Condition: Very good. The external paper edge binding strips are somewhat ragged, with some pieces missing.

Price: £55.00 plus postage. s-herbert@easynet.co.uk

Flying, 1902

Identifier: 1902 FLYING (Periodical) 2014028

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Flying. The Record of Aerial Navigation. No.4. Quarterly. September 1902. Illiffe and Sons Ltd, London and Coventry. Pages 148-192. Size: 182 x 245mm.

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This issue of Flying dates from the year before the Wright Brothers’ first powered flight. Of course, balloonists had been drifting through the skies for more than a century, and the new technique of gliding was starting to become practical. However, it seems that maintaining a journal on the subject of human flight was difficult. There had already been failures – the front cover of this issue of Flying states: “ … with which are incorporated The Flyer, The Flying Machine, The Aerostat, The Aeronaut.” The quarterly Flying wasn’t cheap at half-a-crown, and it ceased publishing the following year after just six issues and a total of 288 pages.

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A wide mix of reports, speculations, and history – from the fanciful ‘The bicycle as an accessory to true flight’, to the second of three parts of the seminal report given to the Western Society of Engineers by Wilbur Wright. This journal is an example of that curious mixture of genuine professional technical progress, and the amateur optimistic fantasy which would largely disappear in mainstream aviation journals as powered heavier-than-air flight became widespread.

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Flying isn’t in the British Library but the National Library of Scotland, and both Oxford and Cambridge Universities, have it – as do half a dozen other libraries found by WorldCat, all but one of which are in the USA. There don’t seem to be any copies of any issue for sale online. So it’s very scarce.

Condition: The pages have been re-sewn onto new guards, and are still bright but fragile in places. Some water stains, finger marks, and folded page corners. The fore-edge is ragged. Damage to the first three (blank) pages, several page corners, and the cover has been repaired with acid-free Japanese tissue. Writing in ink on front cover. The price reflects the fragile nature of this copy.

Price: £35.00 plus postage. s-herbert@easynet.co.uk

Scroll down for more pictures and further items.

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What d’ye LACK?

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Identifier: 2014047 WHAT D’YE LACK?

What d’ye LACK? The Times Publishing Company, Ltd. [1936] 24 pages plus cover, all on heavy stock.
Anonymous. Illustrations by Aubrey Hammond. Size: 216 x 279 mm

Those of us who are of a certain age will remember when the front page of The Times had no headlines, pictures, or even news stories, but only classified advertisements. The proprietors finally abandoned this tradition in 1966. If the presentation of the newspaper was somewhat dour in times past, it shouldn’t be assumed that the marketing was always unimaginative. This brochure from 1936 is based on a selection of amusing snippets from the pages of ‘The Thunderer’ dating from the 18th and 19th centuries.

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The intention was that readers would be entertained by the contents, and then realise that The Times was still an effective place to advertise; the final page of the brochure giving display rates. ‘What d’ye lack?” – a repeated phrase in Oscar Wilde’s fairy tale The Fisherman and His Soul – was an old street-seller’s cry.

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The quotes from old advertisements include one for a Villa ‘near Tooting’, illustrated by Pan sitting on a guidepost showing the way to nearby Balham; long before Peter Sellers made it “funny”. Presumably the quaint 19th-century idea of an ‘elegant villa’ in the London suburb – described in the advertisement as being ‘in the country’ – which by 1936 was just about filled with sprawling building development of cheap housing, was an amusing thought. Ironically, there’s many an elegant villa in Tooting (and even more in Balham) that today has an asking price of £4 million and upwards.

Aubrey Lindsay Hammond, (1894 -1940) attended Byam Shaw School of Art in England, and The Academie Julian in Paris. He designed posters for the Underground Group and London Transport, 1925-1934. Dr Chris Mullen writes:
“[Hammond] was an early example of an English designer prepared for any commercial challenge that came his way – book jackets, illustrations commercial and interpretative, posters, art direction for films, and designs for the stage – sets and costumes.”

One of his most famous works was the striking cover for the 1927 Readers Library edition of Thea von Harbou’s novel Metropolis.
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This two-colour job for The Times is quite scarce. The National Art Library (V&A) has a copy, but that’s the only one listed in WorldCat.

Condition: Generally good. Two small stains on front cover. Some foxing throughout. Mark on back cover (which is blank).

Price: £34.00 plus postage. s-herbert@easynet.co.uk

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Dance of Ghosts and Death – magic lantern slide

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Identifier: 2014091. Dance of Ghosts and Death – magic lantern slide. [SOLD]

 

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Three images painted on glass, mounted in a period wooden lantern slide frame having three apertures. The maker has modified the wooden circles to avoid cropping the painted images. The original title: “DANCE OF GHOSTS AND DEATH” is written in ink on the top edge of the wooden mount. On one side of the frame is written what appears to be 6/- [six shillings] crossed out, and 5/- [five shillings] in pencil. Size: 295 x 99 mm.

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Skeletons and death figures were popular subjects for the phantasmagoria lantern shows of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The tradition goes back even earlier – a drawing of a skeleton removing its own head is a lantern slide design by Chrsitaan Huygens dating from 1659. The slide offered here probably dates from c.1830-1850, and is jovial rather than threatening or doom laden. Despite the title suggesting that Death (the skeleton) is dancing with ghosts, the nightshirted character appears to me to be alive and kicking. Unlike early engravings of the Dance of Death where the mortals are depicted as stiff and unaccommodating, the gentleman in this version readily joins in with the dance.

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This is the only known example of this subject, and the images from this slide were used as an illustration in Mervyn Heard’s book Phantasmagoria: The Secret Life of the Magic Lantern (The Projection Box, 2006).

A unique item.

Condition: good, with minor scratches, some areas of black background paint missing.

Price: [SOLD]      s-herbert@easynet.co.uk