Man catching a butterfly, mid 19th century.
© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Magic lantern slide of a man on the edge of a cliff next to the sea. In his hand he has a net and he is about to catch a butterfly. 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.