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

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

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

The Monkey with the Magic Lantern

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Twenty years ago I became aware of the wide range of illustrated versions of the fable generally known as ‘The monkey with the magic lantern’, while designing the page layout for an article about the subject written by French magic lantern collector Jean-Philippe Salier. I had one edition in my own collection. Some years earlier, I was in Paris with doyen collector Bill Barnes, scouring the cabins of the bouquinistes along the banks of the Seine. I spotted a very nice large illustrated version of the subject, sealed in a plastic wrapper. I picked it up and asked the dealer (in one of my few memorised French sentences), “I want to buy this. May I open it?” The response was an unsmiling “Non.” Bill shook his head and tutted. This didn’t happen in the Charing Cross Road. “Is it complete?” A surly, “Bien sûr, il est complet.”

I gave the book to Bill to hold, took out the required wad of francs, handed them to the dealer and said to Bill, as I took back the book and opened the Sellotaped wrapper, “If there are pages missing I’m going to hit him with it.” There weren’t, so I didn’t. The bouquiniste was now smiling, I managed a forced smile and a “Merci”, we shook hands and Bill and I went away with our treasure. It was later displayed in the exhibition Magical Lanterns, at the Museum of the Moving Image in London. It’s the copy now offered here.

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Les Fables de Jean-Pierre Claris de Florian. Illustrees par A. Vimar. Henrie Laurens, Editeur. [n.d., c.1899] Avant-Propos de Andre Theuriet. 137 pages. Many b/w illustrations, and eight in colour, mostly full-page. Size: 225 x 283 mm. SOLD

Nicolas Stanislas-Auguste Vimar (1851-1916) was a French painter, sculptor, designer and illustrator. He exhibited in Paris and at Marseille, notably sculptures of animals, and contributed drawings to a number of journals including Figaro illustré and Le Rire. [adapted from Wikipedia].

English version of the fable:
http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Fables_of_Florian_(tr._Phelps)/The_Monkey_with_the_Magic_Lantern

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Advertisement, 1902

Advertisement, 1902

I believe this book of the Fables, with illustrations by Vimar, was published c.1899. An edition was certainly available by 1902, where it appears in a bookseller’s catalogue [Catalogue: Ernest Martin. Lester Smith collection]. There were two versions of this edition; one with b/w illustrations at 6 fr., and one with some illustrations in colour at 9 fr. This is the colour edition. I have seen this book with an identical cover but in green cloth, grey cloth, and in beige. I have not seen another example in red.

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‘In France, Jean-Pierre Clarisse de Florian is presently considered a minor writer and poet from the late 18th-century. Most likely his major contribution to literature is the first translation of Cervantes’ Don Quixote. Not many people remember that Florian also write a series of fables … his most famous fable tells of ‘The monkey displaying the magic lantern’. Imagine how a frustrated monkey takes advantage of the temporary absence of his human mentor, a galantee showman. Here is a unique opportunity for him to proudly present to the other animals the lantern show he has watched so many times. No doubt he is fully knowledgeable about the process, and his sharp views of our world are about to change the life of generations to come. At last, a time for deep, philosophical considerations and valuable scientific comment comes of age. Precious sentences are filling the showroom while a series of views slide superbly [through] the lantern. Alas! What should have been an unforgettable one-monkey show quickly becomes an after-dinner talk of the most boring type … The galantee showmonkey … has forgotten just one thing – lighting up the lantern.’ [The Fabulist Displaying the Magic Lantern. A tribute to Florian 1755-1794. by Jean-Philippe Salier. New Magic Lantern Journal, Vol.7 No.2 September 1994.]

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Pictures of an itinerant showman with a monkey feature in many engravings and books from the 18th century onwards. In the illustrations in this book, the monkey is carrying and using a now very collectable Lapierre lantern, in the style known as ‘Carre’. I bought one in Paris in the ‘80s, from a friendly dealer in the Porte de Vanves market; which is still one of my favourite Parisian haunts.

This book turns up occasionally, but not always in good condition, and sometimes it’s the b/w version.

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Les Fables de Jean-Pierre Claris de Florian. Illustrees par A. Vimar. Henrie Laurens, Editeur. [n.d., c.1899] 137 pages. Many b/w illustrations, and eight in colour, several full-page. Size: 225 x 283 mm.

Condition: generally good. Minor foxing and some brown / finger marks to some pages, and general tanning. Wear to the cloth on the bevelled edges of the boards, and spine. Cover illustration colours, and gilding, excellent.

Price: SOLD.

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monkey12This page has the worst finger marks.

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Happy Days – Louis Wain and a magic lantern show

identifier: 2014067 HAPPY DAYS MAGIC LANTERN

H. G. Wells said of Louis Wain, “He has made the cat his own. He invented a cat style, a cat society, a whole cat world. English cats that do not look and live like Louis Wain cats are ashamed of themselves.”

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Happy Days. Stories and pictures for little folk. Blackie & Son Ltd, London and Glasgow. n.d. [c.1919]. 24 pages, plus illustrated endpapers. Size 200 x 260mm. Features an illustration of THE MAGIC LANTERN ENTERTAINMENT by Louis Wain. The artist (1860-1939) needs little introduction – his work featuring anthropomorphised cats being famous. He illustrated more than 100 children’s books as well as postcards, prints and greetings cards, and continued drawing for many years while in mental hospitals.

This book is featured on NeverSeen because of the collectable theme of the subject matter of this double-page colour spread, a magic lantern show. I’m aware of another magic lantern show picture featuring Louis Wain’s cats, which was reproduced in the New Magic Lantern Journal Vol.2 No.1 in 1983 – without a reference to the original source, which was The Sketch, 14 March 1894. Happy Days is not widely held in institutional libraries, and is scarce in good condition.

Condition: Very good. Slight bowing of the boards, wear to board edges, and a name in the “Belongs to” box.

Price: £45.00 plus postage.       s-herbert@easynet.co.uk

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