St Paul's Cathedral, London, 19th century.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Hand-coloured magic lantern slide of a scene on the River Thames showing the progresion of the Royal Barge cheered on by lightermen. 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.