Two women and two children, c 1895.
© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Victorian magic lantern slide - 'The Story of A Crime', 'a moral tale of a woman, Margaret Bell, who is driven to drink, prison, and ultimately her death, by personal misfortune. Two women are outside a building, one of them bending over a child, who is lying on the floor. There is another child sitting next to her. 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 dissolving images on the screen and, in the case of Phantasmagoria, an eerie, magical experience.