Virtual Children's Books Exhibits


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Magic Lantern

Magic Lantern       Magic Lantern


5.  Alice in Wonderland. Chapter 1: Down the Rabbit Hole.
London: W. Butcher & Sons, ca. 1900.
(Primus Junior Lecturers’ Series C, no.776)

The British firm of W. Butcher and Sons sold high-quality lithographic magic lantern slides manufactured in Germany under its Primus Junior Lecturer's series between 1870 and 1900. The slides were marketed as ideal for home use because beautiful images could be projected using just an incandescent gas or an electric light bulb for illumination.

The subjects for the Junior Lecturers' Series were carefully selected to appeal to family audiences—London street criers, nursery tales like "The House that Jack Built" or "John Gilpin’s Ride," and abridgments of novels like Defoe's Robinson Crusoe. Titles in series C included a printed text to be read aloud when the slides were projected. Many other sets of Primus slides can be viewed at de Luikerwaal.

The Primus Junior Lecturers' Series' version of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland was issued in three "chapters," or sets of eight slides each. The illustrations are based on the originals by Sir John Tenniel (1820-1914), but his delicate palette has been considerably modified to compensate for the way the lantern's yellow light altered colors.