Gavin Scott | 18th Century Movie Mogul
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08 Mar 18th Century Movie Mogul

This amazing drawing by an eighteenth century French artist called Edme Bouchardon reveals a woman who was clearly going around Paris in the reign of Louis the Fifteenth showing movies. She’s winding a barrel organ and carrying a portable projector on her back – and presumably a portable screen in the box. Here’s one of the actual projectors from that era she might be using, and another with the slides inserted. #AgeofOlympus @TitanBooks

magic lantern louis XVmagic lantern with slides

And we are talking about movies: if you slid the glass plate back and forward it did look as if the figures were moving. Here’s one which made it look as if people were walking through the park when you moved the plates over one another.

magioc lantern moving

And I love the idea that this young lady provided her own music soundtrack by winding the barrel organ handle and probably added the voice over and the dialogue. She could be a symbol for women directors and producers everywhere …


The photograph of Bouchardon’s drawing, by the way, was taken by my friend the distinguished cinematographer Arthur Albert, at the wonderful exhibition of Bouchardon’s sketches and sculptures at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. If you’re anywhere in the vicinity, go see it!

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