Mr Jones, a London artist, made this early box form of camera obscura at the start of the 19th century. The device is shown closed and lacks a glas screen upon which the image was focused. In operation, a picture was formed by a lens that was reflected off a mirror onto a glas screen from beneath. The artist was thus able to lightly outline the projected image using a soft pencil. Camera obscuras were known to the ancient Greeks, Chinese and were used by Arab astronomers in the 10th century to observe the Sun. During the Renaisance period artists used camera obscuras to help them to draw more accurately.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library