Magic lantern slides are as varied as they are enchanting. While early slides featured line etchings on glass plates, lanternists were soon hand-painting them to give projections vibrancy and depth.
In the 1820s, copperplate printing processes allowed an image to be stamped on glass. This led to mass slide production from the mid-1800s to the 1920s – particularly of toy slides, which were printed with decals and bordered with colourful edges to protect children’s hands.
The arrival of photography in the 1840s advanced things: photos printed on glass brought real-life scenes to life. But technology didn’t diminish the craftsmanship of lanternists, who still retouched worn slides by hand.
Works in this group
Video via Victoria & Albert Museum
On display until:
ACMI: Gallery 1
16 February 2031