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Weblog News

Keep updated on recent happenings with the Society, news and events of interest and any other developments of interest to Magic Lantern enthusiasts.

Astounding apparitions of light

Posted February 17th, 2015

Advertising poster for The Art of the Magic Lantern performance in Margate

Triple bill

Artists, and Society members, Nicole Mollett and Frog Morris invite you to the grande finale of the first year of their collaborative project, The Art of the Magic Lantern. The event consists of three shows in one evening, taking place in three different venues in Margate. Join them for one or all on Friday 20th February. No need to book, it's free!

6pm A Donkey's Tale
Margate Old Town Museum, Old Market Place, Margate CT9 1ER

7pm The Magnificent Margate Menangerie
7pm Margate OddFellows Club, 14 Hawley Street, Margate CT9 1PU

8pm The Beast Amongst the Bathing Huts
Morgan’s Bar, 46 High Street, Margate, Kent CT9 1DS

More information about the project and future performances can be obtained from The Art of the Magic Lantern website.

Phantasmagoria - Halloween Special at the People's Park Tavern

Posted October 30th, 2014

Double bill

What better way to spend Halloween night than tucked away safely indoors with good company. Get your tickets for tomorrow night's magic lantern phantasmagoria show at the People's Park Tavern which promises “Gothic cocktails, Victorian delights and spooky goings-on!” Magic Lantern Society member Jeremy Brooker at the lantern, Costas Fotopoulos at the piano.

The second part of the show features music by The Dead Victorians.

Show starts: 8pm
Tickets: £8

An evening at Dr Jenner's House

Posted October 27th, 2014

Explore the magic lantern!

Tickets are now on sale for an evening's entertainment exploring the history of the magic lantern. Magic Lantern Society members Patrick and Norma Furley will be at Dr Jenner's House on Thursday 20th November 2014. The lecture and show starts at 7.30pm. If you're anywhere near Berkeley GL13 9BN, don't miss it!

Stereoscopic Terror and Wonder at the British Library

Posted October 9th, 2014


This October don't miss the chance to catch Dr Brian May, Denis Pellerin, and Paula Fleming as they present their most excellent "Diableries: Stereoscopic Adventures in Hell" in 3D as part of the British Library's "Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination" exhibition. The event takes place on Sunday 26th October, 14:30-16:00 and tickets are still on sale at the time of writing.

Magic Lantern Tales

Posted August 29th, 2014

New show on the road

Between the 25th September 2014 and 21st November 2014 you have six chances to catch Ian Beesley and Ian McMillan’s new show, Magic Lantern Tales. Poems, song, and the projected image. A celebration of human stories in this commemorative year for World War I.

Details of all the dates and locations

New Light on Old Media

Posted July 20th, 2014

Sign up to our new e-publication

If you haven’t already subscribed to the Society’s new monthly digital publication that shares up-to-date information on exhibitions, performances, publications, websites and other lantern related activities by email, subscribe now! This free publication, edited by showman and scholar Dr Mervyn Heard, is aimed at members and non-members alike.

If you would like to send information or web links on activities you’d like us to feature (up to 150 words please), contact Mervyn at The next issue will be published shortly.

New Light on Old Media

Collections South - Image and Movement

Posted June 15th, 2014

Twixt Two Worlds, curated by Gaia Tedone

If you miss this free exhibition whilst it's showing in London's Whitechapel Gallery be sure to catch it in Eastbourne's Towner Gallery.

As curator and MLS member Gaia Tedone explains, "the exhibition explores the transition between still and moving images, looking at the moment in history when photography gets animated and opens the door to cinema", with particular reference to the technique of double exposure used to suggest movement. It is inspired by and draws on the public collections of Brighton & Hove, Bristol, Southampton, and Eastbourne whilst also encompasing contemporary works.

Whitechapel Gallery, London from 10 June to 31 August 2014

Towner Gallery, Eastbourne from 10 October 2014 to 4 January 2015

Watch an interview with Gaia Tedone on the Contemporary Art Society's website.

UCL Festival of the Arts event

Posted May 27th, 2014

From Phantasmagoria to Science!

Dr Cristina Massaccesi and UCL Museums curator Nick Booth will today (Tuesday 27 May, 1-2pm) recreate for their audience a magic lantern show showcasing UCL's collections. Anthony Davie will provide live piano accompaniment. This is one of many free events offered over the four day period of UCL's Festival of the Arts which is now in its second year.

A special mention goes to "Richard and Jan Rigby, members of the Magic Lantern Society, who have been invaluable in providing expertise for the event, and will be manning the magic lantern on the day".

Event website

Royal Geographical Society afternoon talk

Posted May 22nd, 2014

Geographical projections: bringing to light the RGS magic lantern slide collections c. 1880-1960

On Monday 2nd June 2014, 2.30-4pm, Emily Hayes will present a talk based on her AHRC-funder postgraduate research of the RGS magic lantern slide collections, exploring how the society's 19th century illustrated lectures and their contemporary audiences helped shape geography and the RGS-IGB.

Further details are available via the event flyer.

New book on Diableries

Posted August 29th, 2013

Gabriel Grub

Dr Brian May (lead guitarist of Queen) with his co-authers Dennis Pellerin and Paula Fleming will present their new book "Diableries: Stereoscopic Adventures in Hell" with an exclusive 3D presentaion and lecture at 6.30 pm on Friday November 1st in the Royal Institution of British Artists, London.


Full details are available here.




Magic Lanters and Slides at Auction in Australia

Posted August 21st, 2013

The Dr Gary Scroop collection of lanterns and slides is being offered for auction by Scammel Auctions in Norwood, South Australia on September 14th, 2013. The large and comprehensive collection includes some rare items.

Dr Scroop was an active lanternist giving performances with his group under the stage name "The Limelighters".

Further information on the auction can be found here.


George Melies Exhibition in Madrid until 8th December 2013

Posted August 8th, 2013

Gabriel Grub


Full details available at






Conférence du Conservatoire des techniques

Posted April 25th, 2013

Gabriel Grub


Cinémathèque française, 51 rue de Bercy Paris 12e

Vendredi 17 mai, 14h30

Projections et colportages, la lanterne magique au XVIIIe siècle

Il y a quelques années, Roger Gonin découvrait en Auvergne un objet d'une rareté exceptionnelle : une lanterne magique de colporteur, avec dix plaques de verre peintes à la main. Cet appareil fragile, en bois et fer-blanc, à l'aspect modeste, est l'un des très rares témoins du métier de projectionniste ambulant. Certaines des plaques conservées, simples ou à système, peintes avec grande minutie, représentent des images de propagande pour Napoléon Bonaparte pendant le Consulat. D'autres résistent à une identification précise. Menant une véritable enquête policière, Roger Gonin est parti à la recherche des origines de cette machine. Comment se déroulait une séance de projection avec cet appareil ? Comment comprendre cette iconographie ? Qui était le colporteur de cette lanterne magique ? Tels seront les thèmes abordés à partir de cette lanterne magique émouvante, qui garde encore bien des secrets.

Roger Gonin est administrateur général au Festival du Court-Métrage de Clermont-Ferrand depuis 1980 (Responsable pour la sélection internationale de la vidéothèque du Marché du film). Collectionneur, il est membre de la Magic Lantern Society et a conçu deux expositions sur la lanterne magique en 1998 au Musée des Beaux-Arts de Roger Quillot (Clermont-Ferrand) et en 2001 à la Bibliothèque Universitaire des Cézeaux.

Photographie : lanterne de colporteur, collection Roger Gonin en dépôt à la Cinémathèque française, photographie Roger Gonin

Plein tarif 4 € / tarif réduit 3 €/ Forfait Atout Prix et Carte CinEtudiant 2.5 € / Libre Pass Accès libre

Prochaine conférence : vendredi 14 juin 14h30, Jean-Pierre Verscheure : Du Vitaphone au son numérique, la grande saga du son au cinéma


A few years ago, Roger Gonin discovered in Auvergne an object of exceptional rarity: a magic lantern peddling with ten painted glass plates by hand. This fragile equipment, wood and tin, the modest appearance, is one of the very rare examples of itinerant projectionists. Some of the conserved single system or plates, painted with great detail, show images of propaganda for Napoleon during the Consulate. Others resist precise identification. Leading real police investigation, Roger Gonin went in search of the origins of this machine. How was held a screening of this unit? How to understand this iconography? Who was the peddler of this lantern? These are the themes from the magic lantern moving, which still keeps many secrets.

Roger Gonin is deputy head of the Short Film Festival in Clermont-Ferrand in 1980 (Responsible for the international library selection Film Market). Collector, he is a member of the Magic Lantern Society and designed two exhibitions on the lantern in 1998 at the Museum of Fine Arts Roger Quillot (Clermont-Ferrand) and in 2001 to the University Library Cézeaux.

Photography: Lantern peddler Roger Gonin collection deposited at the French Cinematheque, photography Roger Gonin

Full price € 4 / concessions € 3 / Package Price and Asset Map CinEtudiant 2.5 € / free Free Access Pass


The Secret Life of the Magic Lantern: The Exotic, the Erotic and the Bizarre

Posted May 6th, 2012

Gabriel Grub

by Mervyn Heard

The London Festival of Photography is pleased to present this unique opportunity to experience the magic of a Victorian-era lantern slide show in what promises to be an exotic, erotic and bizarre evening of otherworldly entertainment.

Dates: 24 June 2012
Venue: Conway Hall, Main Hall
Address: 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
Time: 6pm
Price: £10

Further information can be found here.









Charles Dickens at the Museum of Pre-Cinema in Padua - now extended to 30th December, 2012

Posted February 25th, 2012

Gabriel Grub

dal 7 Aprile al 23 Giugno 2012

Per maggiori info:








Tennant's Photo Minature on Lantern Slides available online

Posted February 24th, 2011

John Tennants's Photominature Book on Lantern Slides is now available online from The Library of Congress.

The book was donated by Tom Rall of Washington and digitised by the Library.



Other books on magic lanterns and slides can be found in the Library and even more online at

Gabriel Grub/Charles Dickens Lecture

Posted December 26th, 2011

Gabriel Grub

'Professor' Mervyn Head will be offering a Dickens related show next year featuring "Gabriel Grub : The Story of the Goblins who stole a Sexton" from 'Pickwick Papers' with original special effects and a selection of other material from Dickens heyday.
The first show will take place on 11th February as part of the Dickens Festival in Portsmouth. Further dates to be posted on his website













Charles Dickens Bicentenary

Posted December 26th, 2011

2012 marks the bi-centenary of Dickens birth (7th Feb 1812)
To mark the occasion the BFI are producing four short films exploring cinema's relationship to Dickens.
The first short film 'Dickens and the Magic Lantern' has just been posted on You Tube and features original material together with interviews with myself, John Plunkett from the University of Exeter and Phil Wickham who runs the Bill Douglas Archive.   You might want to post the link

Un Natale Vittoriano

Posted November 13th, 2011

Un Natale Vittoriano al Museo del PRECINEMA

sabato 17 e domenica 18 dicembre alle ore 15 proiezione con la Lanterna Magica


Collezione Minici Zotti
Prato della Valle, 1/A
35123 PADOVA


Per maggiori informazioni e prenotazioni:
tel. 049 8763838






The Minwa-za Company of Toyko European Tour

Posted November 8th, 2011

The world famous Minwa-za Company of Tokyo revive the Art of Utsushi-e (the Japanese Magic Lantern) and will be making a European tour in November 2011. Information available currently is:

Warsaw, Poland
Nov. 18 Centrum Sztuki Wsp�lczesnej Zamek Ujazdowski 00-467 Warszawa, ul.
Jazd�w 2, tel. +48 22 628 12 71-73, fax: +48 22 628 95 50,,
e-mail: +48(0)22-628-1271/72/73)
Nov. 19 Dom Kultury "Swit"
no information yet for the starting time

Budapest, Hungary
Theatre Merlin Szinhaz
Nov. 21    19:00
Nov. 22  19:00
Workshop: Nov. 22  9am for art students. 12:30 for children

Bucharest, Romania
Theatre Odeon Majestic Hall
Nov. 24  19:00
Nov/ 25  14:00
Workshop: Nov. 25 at Film and Theatre University ft.htm

Sophia, Bulgaria
National Academy of Theatre and Film Arts (NATFA) Drama Training Theatre
Nov. 27  19:00
Nov. 28  19:00
Drama Training Theatre: +359(0)2-9231-302

Experimental Light: Pin-prick Pictures, Protean Views and Transparent Paintings Seminar

Posted October 8th, 2011

On Monday 7th November, Alice Barnaby from the University of Exeter will present a seminar "Experimental Light: Pin-prick Pictures, Protean Views and Transparent Paintings" at the Courtald Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 0RN.

Full details are available at :

Travelling Light Magic Lantern Company Performance

Posted October 2nd, 2011

The Travelling Light Magic Lantern Company will be appearing at the magnificent Arno's Vale Cemetery, Bath Road, Bristol on Friday, 18th. November commencing 7.30pm. The full show, with interval, will take place in the old converted chapel and all proceeds will go to the Arno's Vale Trust who have done a wonderful job in taking over and restoring this famous site.

Tickets can be obtained from the the Trust, Tel. 0117 971 9117.

Euopean Heritage Days 2011

Posted August 25th, 2011

The next entertainment of the Perforons la Musique Society will take place on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 September for European Heritage Days in Toulouse.

"Le colporteur d'images" ("The Itinerant Hawker of Images") will show the optical box in the courtyard of the palace built in the 17th century for the Prior of the Ordre de Malte.

4,000 people are expected to attended during the two days at 32 rue de la Dalbade from 10 am to 6 pm where the event takes place, uder the Direction r�gionale des Affaires Culturelles.

A selection of pre-cinema machines like anamorphose, stereodiorama, relief and multithaumatropes, will be also on display.

(Click on the image for a larger version)




Doctoral Studentship on Geographical Lantern Slides

Posted May 13th, 2011

AHRC-funded Collaborative PhD Studentship

Geographical Projections: Lantern slides, science and popular geography, 1860-1960

Geography, Cornwall Campus (near Falmouth), University of Exeter and the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), London.

Following the award of an AHRC Collaborative PhD Studentship, the University of Exeter, in partnership with the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), is seeking to appoint a suitably qualified applicant for a doctoral studentship for three years commencing on 1 October 2011. Principal supervisor: Dr James Ryan; 2nd supervisor: Dr Simon Naylor. RGS-IBG supervisor: Dr Catherine Souch.

This collaborative doctoral project focuses on the RGS-IBG's unique collection of lantern slides and aims to locate them within their wider cultural and historical settings of science, commerce and entertainment. Analysing lantern slides alongside associated records, correspondence and contemporary publications (focusing on RGS-IBG archives but also using parallel UK collections),the studentship will explore how lantern slides were employed to convey particular forms of geographical information; how they circulated within geographical worlds; and how different audiences responded to them. It will also consider how technology and location affected audiences\' atti