A night view over a town, mid 19th century.
© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Magic lantern slide showing the roofs of a town at night. In the foreground is the mullioned window of a house. Other darker houses are in the background. 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.