Country scene, mid 19th century.
© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Magic lantern slide of a country scene. In the foreground there are children playing. One is up a tree, one is trying to catch a butterfly and a little girl is feeding the sheep. Underneath the tree, a man is fanning a woman. Another man is fishing from a bridge. In the background is a large house, overlooking the happy, rustic scene. Magic lantern shows began towards the end of the 17th century but only became more widespread and popular in the 19th century with the improvement in lamp sources. The shows could range from simple didactic presentations (a favourite topic was the demon drink) to sophisticated shows using double or triple lanterns to produce moving and disolving images on the screen and, in the case of Phantasmagoria, an eerie, magical experience.