A rare collection of picture stories which were
created prior to the invention of the film camera was restored in
2007 by the University of Bristol.
The seven sets of hand-tinted magic lantern slides
had been used to educate, entertain, and mystify audiences. These late
nineteenth century slides tell stories with titles such as Christmas
in Paradise, The Matron's Story, and the Workhouse Boy.
They were part of an archive of more than four hundred magic lantern
Jo Elsworth, keeper of the theatre collection, said:
'Though there was a huge market for magic lanterns and slides in the
nineteenth century, they eventually fell out of favour after the
invention of moving pictures. Few lanterns and slides survived, which
makes this archive even more precious'.
The magic lantern was the ancestor of the modern slide
projector. Lantern slides consisted of two sheets of square glass between
which the photographic image was sandwiched. Using an oil lamp and a lens,
the image could be projected onto a screen.
Magic lanterns were developed in the seventeenth century and
remained in widespread use until they were displaced by the
slide projector from the mid-twentieth century onwards