Series of three hand-painted lantern slides.[c.1850s/60s] Stock Code: 135445
Britain's first specialist commercial buildingA series of three magic lantern slides depicting the Royal Exchange, Britain's first specialist commercial building, before, during, and after the fire of 10 January 1838. The Royal Exchange pictured in the first slide, designed by Edward Jerman and opened in 1669, was the second iteration of the building: the original structure, built for the Exchange's founder Sir Thomas Gresham, was destroyed in the Great Fire of London. The new - and present - building was designed by Sir William Tite and opened by Queen Victoria in 1844. Today the Royal Exchange is a luxury shopping centre. The present slides are not recorded on LUCERNA (the magic lantern collections search engine), though a number of other depictions of Cornhill Street and the Exchange are.
Cinema historian Sudhir Mahadevan notes that the 1838 burning of the Royal Exchange was an event used to demonstrate the "sense of temporal and spatial continuity" created by biunal magic lanterns in particular (p. 47). The two separate optical systems of these double-lens lanterns allowed the projections to 'dissolve' into one another almost seamlessly.
3 hand-painted circular glass lantern slides encased within separate wooden frames (each 100 x 177 x 10 mm), frame rectos hand-numbered and titled in ink, "1. Old Royal Exchange"; "2. Old Royal Exchange [on fire]"; "3. New Royal Exchange [the existing building]", small paper library labels top left correspondingly hand-numbered, and top edges of frames annotated to match.
Hand-colouring remains bright and fresh, with just a couple of tiny areas of wear to third slide, but no cracks or scratches; some marks to frames; overall a very well-preserved set.
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