1651    
  The work of Leonardo Da Vinci, namely his €˜Treatise on Painting', dealing with optics, is published in Paris this year.  
   
       
  1651
MARTIN MARTINI (1614 - 1661)
   
  This missionary and pupil of Kircher's returned to Europe from the China mission in 1655 and for the next four years will tour Europe lecturing extensively. Martini, alongside of Andreas Tacquet and Kircher, will illustrate the new form of entertainment; projected glass slides. Using Kircher's "Lanterna Magica", they will put on a slide presentation of the trip to China. These lectures and presentations are documented in Louvain (1654) and Leyden (1653). Interestingly enough, a year after being ordained in 1629, Kircher had expressed to his superiors, an interest in going to China.  
   
       
 

 
     
 
1652
JEAN-FRANCOIS NICERON (1613 - 1646)

In his 'La Perspective Curieuse' (Posthumously, Niceron, J., Paris, France, 1652) Niceron gives a full description of the camera obscura and it's use. Previous publications by Niceron (1638 and 1646), who wrote on perspective, drawings, lenses and mirrors, fail to mention the camera. Niceron told of charlatans who used the image making process to cheat patrons out of their purses.
Image Of Niceron From His La Perspective Curieuse
Illustration From La Perspective Curieuse
From Niceron's 'La Perspective Curieuse' of 1652 (above). Niceron wanted to show that image size had to do with the distance the subject was from the lens. This illustration shows a room camera with a hung drape or sheet, and the image in it's natural state (inverted). The top half of the frame shows a subject closer to the hole and a corresponding image. The bottom half shows the object farther away and therefore proving a smaller image.
See The Full Cover Page Of La Perspective Curieuse HERE                 See the Frontispiece HERE
Jean-Francois Niceron had his 'La Perspective Curieuse' (above left) published after his death. In it, he talked of the use of the camera image for evil purposes. His other works had failed to include any mention of the phenomenon. Niceron was primarily known for his work in perspectives and drawings.
 
     
 

 
       
       
 

1656
CHRISTIAN HUYGENS (1629 - 1695)

This Dutch physicist, besides founding the undulating theory of light, discovering the rings around saturn and stating the principle of centrifugal force, is the maker of the oldest extant magic lantern we know of.

In this year, Huygens wrote to his brother Ludwig describing the lantern. Huygens introduced and demonstrated the camera obscura to Dutch artists.

Christian Huygens

Christian Huygens

 
       
 

 
     
       
 

A Hoogstraaten Perspective Box c. 1660

1656
SAMUEL VAN HOOGSTRAATEN (1627 - 1678)

Hoogstraaten successfully attempted a three-dimensional exhibit in London. The show was the interior of the great church at Haarlem. Hoogstraaten was a Dutch maker of perspective boxes and other optical toys.

A superb Hoogstraaten perspective box (left) c. 1660. Two individual views from individual peepholes provided this 3-dimensional view of a contemporary Dutch home. Five walls of the interior 'box' are painted with interior scenes of perspective while the front wall is left open for light.

Light once again comes into our story as it is this very light from the open side that plays against the perspective artwork of Hoogstraaten. He traveled all over Europe exhibiting his trompe l'oeil-based peepshow boxes.

Samuel Van Hoogstraaten was a student of Rembrandt and studied the writings of Da Vinci. He attended a Dutch school of Trompe l'Oeil which is also a term that means 'deceptive trickery', to 'fool one's eye' and to 'deceive the sight'.

 
   
Image Source: The National Gallery, London
 
       
 

 
     
 
Illustration From Magia Universalis Naturae Et Artis 1657
GASPAR (CASPAR or KASPAR) SCHOTT (1608 - 1666)

Another scholar and pupil of Kircher, Schott published his 'Magia Universalis Naturae Et Artis' (Schott, K., Wurzburg, 1657) and describes a small camera obscura he was made aware of (Part 1, "Magia Optica", Book 4, p200). Schott also names every type of magic lantern and names Kircher as the inventor. He also describes optical illusions using a rapidly revolving wheel producing distorted figures (the Phantasmagoria became popular in the late 18th century, as did Dissolving Views and the Wheel of Life). On page 76 of his 'Magia Universalis' Schott used the eye of an ox to compare with the retinal image. Schott will publish his second edition of 'Magia Universalis' in 1674.


Here is one of Schott's camera obscura drawings (above) from his 'Magia Universalis Naturae Et Artis' (Wonders of Universal Nature And Art, 1657). This illustration (left) is typical of a camera obscura in that it shows an image from outside, the aperture in the wall of a room, the rays crossing and the image lying on the wall. Perhaps as a bit of humour, Schott portrays the viewer, as being the same as the statue being viewed on the hill.
 
     
 

 
       
       
  1658
THOMAS RASMUSSEN WALGENSTEN (1627 - 1681)
   
  A professor of mathematics at the university of Leyden, Walgensten begins to improve on the magic lantern and show it throughout Europe, traveling widely. Now introduced commercially, the magic lantern is presented as early as 1660 in Rome, 1662 in Paris, 1665 in Lyons, c.1670 again in Rome and in Copenhagen. Both Kircher in his 'Ars Magna' (2nd Ed., 1671, pp768,9) and De Chales Cursus Seu Mundus Mathematicus ( De Chales, Claude Francois Milliet, 1690, Paris, France, 2nd Ed., vol.3, p696) speak of the "learned Dane who came to Lyons in 1665." Previous historians usually attribute Walgensten as the "Dane" who Kircher and De Chales spoke of.  
       
       
 

 
     
 

1660
JAN (JOHANNES) VERMEER VAN DELFT (1632 - 1675)

It is highly possible that this Dutch painter of the 17th century used the camera obscura in some of his work. View of Delft (1660, The Hague) is a likely product of the camera's use as suggested by commentators and art historians like Kees Kaldenbach.

His comments on View of Delft and the 'circles of confusion' leave us with little doubt that Vermeer used the camera....."If the sun would hit and sparkle on the wet surface of this ship, a view through a Camera Obscura would present fuzzy rings - called circles of confusion - on the frosted glass. Oddly enough Vermeer has copied this optical effect in a shaded area on the side of the ship, outside direct sunlight, thus not in a logical spot."    -Kaldenbach

Without the use of the camera, Vermeer would never have seen the effect of the rings.

This reproduction (right) unfortunately cannot accurately show the effect. Vermeer's Girl with a Red Hat also shows the rainbow ring effect.

View of Delft By Vermeer
View A Large Format Digitized Image Of The Painting Here
Vermeer's View Through A Camera, View of Delft by Jan Vermeer (1632-1675), 1660 (Mauritshuis, The Hague)
 
     
  At the 2003 gathering that studied the Hockney-Falco theory (Optics, Optical Instruments And Painting: The Hockney-Falco Thesis Revisited ESF Exploratory Workshop, 12-15 November 2003, Ghent) based on David Hockney's 2001 book "Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering The Lost Techniques Of The Old Masters" which claims that master painters of the 16th & 17th centuries (late thesis) used optics, namely concave mirrors, lenses and in particular the camera obscura in their work, Philip Steadman of University College London supported the theory. His contribution, Idealism, Realism, and Vermeer's Use of the Camera Obscura, included the following;  
     
  As the domestic interiors of Vermeer are studied with ever greater attention, more and more of the objects depicted - pieces of furniture, maps, globes, 'painted paintings' - turn out to be real objects, represented (for the most part) with great fidelity, at their precise known sizes. On the evidence of my own perspective analyses, as well as recent archival work by Warffemius, it transpires that the room which provides the setting for as many as ten of these pictures has the same dimensions and the same windows as the first-floor studio which Vermeer occupied in his mother-in-law's house from the late 1650s. The artist's two townscapes, the 'View of Delft' and ''The Little Street' can be shown, I believe - contrary to the opinions of some Vermeer scholars -to be slavishly faithful in detail to the appearances of the actual scenes in question. In all these respects then, Vermeer was a realist, who achieved this truth to appearances through his systematic employment of the camera obscura. For some art historians, nevertheless, this line of argument is repugnant, since for them it is at odds with a Vermeer whose work lies in a tradition of idealised, conventionalised Dutch genre subjects; whose two-dimensional compositions are not 'snapshots' but meticulous constructions of carefully balanced shapes; and whose paintings are scattered - although not so liberally as those of some contemporaries - with emblematic allusions and iconographical meaning. All these points are valid ones. I will argue that their validity is, however, perfectly compatible with a camera technique. For Vermeer the camera obscura was a 'composition machine' with which, working like a 19th century studio photographer, he was able to design idealised, highly-considered, in some instances even richly allegorical compositions, by the arrangement of real objects in real rooms.             - Philip Steadman, Thursday November 13, 2003, Ghent  
     
  Another view on Vermeer comes to us from one Anson K. Cross who was a painter, teacher and writer on the subject of art in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Cross theory on Vermeer is fascinating and to describe it best he created a camera obscura of his own. He called it 'Vermeer's Camera'. Visit the Jack & Beverly Wilgus site The Magic Mirror of Life for the complete theory from A. K. Cross, and, photographs of the camera.  
     
     
 

 
       
       
  1662
THOMAS RASMUSSEN WALGENSTEN (1627 - 1681)
   
  The Frenchman Petit writes in a letter to Christian Huygens information on the scare lantern (Schreckenlaterne Lanterne De Peur) by Walgensten. This apparatus will be detailed in an optical textbook titled 'Centuriae Optical Pars Altera' in 1668 by Italian Francesco Eschinardi. This could be the first mention of the term 'magic lantern'.  
       
       
 

 
       
 

1663
CHRISTIAN HUYGENS (1629 - 1695)

Huygens introduces the magic lantern into England.

Christian Huygens

 Christian Huygens  

 
 

 
       
       
  1663
JOHN REEVES ( - )
   
  The London optician John Reeves, an acquaintance of Huygens, produced his own lanterns in England.  
       
       
 

 
     
 
Thomas Walgensten's Illustration Of His Magic Lantern 1665
THOMAS RASMUSSEN WALGENSTEN (1627 - 1681)

The Dane travels widely throughout Europe and makes a stop in Lyons France, presenting the magic lantern to audiences and had it illustrated in De Chales 1674 'Cursus Mathematicus' (vol.2, p666).
This illustration (above) is Walgensten's magic lantern which he presented when in Lyons in 1665. One candle provides the light needed when accompanied by a reflecting mirror for added brilliance. This lantern was included in De Chales 'Cursus Seu Mundus Mathematicus' (De Chales, F., M., 1st edition) in 1674, 2nd volume, p666.
 
     
 

 
     
     
 

1666
JAN (JOHANNES) VERMEER VAN DELFT (1632 - 1675)

It is certain that Vermeer used the camera obscura in his 1666 (1660-1673?) oil on canvas entitled The Art of Painting.

As a student of illumination in painting his objects and a keen knowledge of linear perspective, Vermeer gave us what many believe is his best work.

In using the camera obscura to prepare and 'line up' the people and objects within the room, Vermeer was able to provide a realism to this and other works, more than two hundred years before the discovery of photography. As stated in the BBC Wales production The Private Life Of A Masterpiece: The Art Of Painting (2005), "the painting still speaks to modern filmmakers".

In using tack lines as did builders and masons, Vermeer brought the vanishing point and the viewers eye to just in front of the Muse of History, Clio. Simple geometry for perfect perspective. In this high-res image the original spot where the tack was placed by Vermeer, can still be seen just below Clio's right hand, and the rod holding the map. This same tack hole can be found in 17 of Vermeer's paintings.

As filmmaker Peter Greenaway states, "Vermeer was the world's first cinematographer because he dealt in a world completely manifest by light".

The Art Of Painting is the nearest Vermeer could have got to a photo-graph simply because it's a scale painting, of a camera obscura image.

Vermeer's The Art Of Painting, 1666-1673
View A Large Format Digitized Image Of The Painting Here
Another View Through The Camera; Vermeer's The Art Of Painting.
Kunsthistorisches, Vienna.
 
     
  As Vermeer presented the 'circles of confusion' in View of Delft as seen through the camera obscura, so did he present the natural blur of the drapery on the table and the sharpness of the painter himself in perfect focus. The camera obscura of course provides the same optical discrepancies in scale, focus and blur.  
  By Vermeer's time, camera obscuras were the most sophisticated and were portable making it easier for artists to maneuver and set up. The lenses provided sharper and more vivid images.  
     
     
 

 
       
  1666
ROBERT HOOKE (1635 - 1703)
   
  This lecturer and later scientist gave a talk at Gresham College on felt-making and in the middle of it began describing what he would later call a camera lucida but which in fact was a portable camera obscura (also SEE HOOKE 1668, HOOKE 1680, HOOKE 1694). The camera lucida began to be used as an instrument for making drawings easier, and perspectively correct (also SEE ALBERTI'S CAMERA LUCIDA).  
       
 
Example Of A Camera Lucida The Camera Lucida was an offshoot discovery of the camera obscura. Useful as a drawing aid to artists as opposed to the entertaining attraction of the camera, the lucida was more portable. Lucida means 'light room' referring to the need for light and that it must be used in the daylight. In 1680 Hooke would present a paper to the Royal Society where he would describe and present a cone-shaped camera lucida which he called a lucida. This instrument of Hooke's greatly resembles by description, the intersector of Alberti's.
Illustration Of A Camera Lucida As A Drawing Aid
 
     
 

 
       
       
  1667
ROBERT BOYLE (1627 - 1691)
   
  A founding member of the Royal Society, Boyle in his 'Experiments And Considerations Upon Colours' (Boyle, R., Geneva, Switzerland, 1667, ch.36) mentions silver chloride turning dark "in the air".  
       
       
 

 
     
 
Robert Hooke

1668
ROBERT HOOKE (1635 - 1703)

This English scientist and part-time assistant to Boyle, reported to the Royal Society in a paper (Phil. Trans. Royal Society, No.38, vol.3, 1668) about a universal projection system and "a contrivance to make the picture of anything appear on a wall, in the midst of a light room in the daytime".

The use of mirrors for magnification allowed the room to be lit. Hooke called this a camera lucida. He would present two more papers to the Royal Society, in 1680 and 1694.

Hooke would also use ice as a burning glass, long since known.

Robert Hooke (above) Without His Wig
 
       
       
 

 
     
 
1669
ROBERT BOYLE (1627 - 1691)

Boyle describes a "portable darkened room" in his 'Of The Systematicall And Cosmical Qualities Of Things" (Boyle, R., Oxford, England, 1669). This was a portable box camera which he constructed, and then described. He also talks of using oiled paper as a base and having the viewer look through a hole to see the image. He claims this camera obscura of his own, was shown years earlier (no trace of this has been found in all of Boyle's known works).
Robert Boyle
 
Robert Boyle (above)
 
     
 

 
       
 
Illustration From Kircher's Ars Magna Of One Of His Magic Lanterns 1671
ATHANASIUS KIRCHER (1602 - 1680)

Kircher published his second, and expanded edition of 'Ars Magna' and gives two illustrations of his lantern. On pages 768 and 769 Kircher names Walgensten as having a fine lantern, but still claims the magic lantern as his own. He also described a revolving disk similar to the rotating wheel of his 1646 edition. He referred to this as a 'Smicroscopin'. The story of Christ's death, burial and resurrection are depicted in eight separate slides, or scenes. His illustration of the magic lantern in this edition (Amsterdam) clearly show the direction of his thinking, when we see the possibility of movement using successive slides.
Kircher's revised Ars Magna of 1671 provides a wonderful cut-out illustration (above left) of his magic lantern. The drawing clearly shows the lens, mirror, light source (lamp), slides and image on the wall. Kircher claimed he was the inventor. The slides are offered in the inverted position in order to provide an upright presentation. Notice the reflecting mirror for greater illumination.
 
     
 

 
       
 
1671
CHERUBIN D'ORLEANS (1613 - 1697)

In his 'La Dioptrique Oculaire' (d'Orleans, Cherubin, Capucin, Paris, France, 1671) D'Orleans gives an illustration of a darkened room where alphabetical letters are projected upside down.

An illustration (right) from the book 'La Dioptrique Oculaire' of 1671 by Cherubin d'Orleans. D'Orlean's version of a camera obscura showing the light rays and their inversion at the aperture.
Cherubin D' Orleans Illustrated Camera Obscura From 1671
 
     
 

 
       
       
  1672
JOHANN CHRISTOPH STURM (1635 - 1703)
   
  Sturm introduces the magic lantern into Germany where he was professor of mathematics at the University of Nurnberg. Sturm gave experimental lectures on the lantern and spoke of it in novelistic terms. Later in 1676 he would publish his 'Collegium Experimentale Sive Curiosum' (Sturm, J., Nurnberg, Germany, 1676) and illustrates a portable camera obscura using a 45 degree-angled mirror for drawing purposes (the reader will recall Benedetti in 1585 suggesting the same use of angled mirrors to upright the image, and also Herigone in 1642 with his goblet). Sturm suggested the apparatus be large enough to allow the head and hand of the artist to be inserted.  
       
       
  1673
CHRISTOPH ADOLPH BALDUIN (BALDEWEIN) (1623 - 1682)
   
  This Saxon magistrate and alchemist produced calcium nitrate, a luminous substance, by mixing chalk and nitric acid, and published his findings in 'Miscellanea Curiosa Medico-Physica Academiae' (Balduin, Christoph, Frankfurt and Leipzig, Germany, 1673). He calls his find the "carrier of light"  and labels it the much sought-after mystic "Philosopher's Stone".  
       
       
 

 
     
 
1674
CLAUDE FRANCOIS MILLIET DE CHALES (1621 - 1678)

Well versed in many sciences, this French mathematician, and professor of humanities and hydrography at the University of Marseilles, actually said he did not invent the magic lantern. He wrote two editions of his monumental 'Cursus Seu Mundus Mathematicus' (De Chales, F., M., 1st ed. 1674, 2nd ed. 1690, Paris, France) where he improved on the already well known lantern by tackling focus, focal point, better illumination and a sharper image. He also illustrates (1st ed. 1674, vol.ii, p666) the lantern of Walgensten in this book. De Chales also suggested the idea of introducing glass slides from the side, and showing them in succession.
A Magic Lantern Slide From Germany c. late 19th Century
The 'motion' of the magic lantern comes to life in this slide of German origin. Four simple pictures from left to right tell the story of the painter and the prankster. De Chales introduced the idea of successive glass slides on a horizontal plain in 1674. See also Zahn 1685. (Courtesy The International Arts, Antiques and Collectibles Forum)
 
     
 

 
       
       
  1674
GASPAR SCHOTT (1608 - 1666)
   
  Schott's second edition of his 'Magia Universalis' (see 1657, 1st ed.) is published and in it he again describes all kinds of magic lanterns, lenses, and burning glass lenses of Archimedes.  
       
       
  1677
J.C. KOHLANS ( - )
   
  Another camera obscura is disguised, this time in the form of a book, by this German school teacher. He called it his "Opticum Libellum" and published 'Neu-Erfundene Mathematische Und Optische Curiostaten' in Leipzig in 1677. The book is illustrated and described in figure 302.  
       
     
 

 
     
 
One Of Robert Hooke's Cone-Shaped Camera Obscuras 1680
ROBERT HOOKE (1635 - 1703)

Hooke gave a lecture to the Royal Society (it's contents can be found in Richard Waller's edition "Posthumous Works Of Robert Hooke", (London, 1705, p127) in which he described his cone-shaped camera obscura (the same instrument described in his 1668 lecture, but called it a camera lucida [not to be confused with the true lucida of Wollaston]. This camera was about five feet in length and light entered through the apex. The viewer looked through the centre hole of the device.
Hooke's cone-shaped camera obscura (above) of 1680. His paper to the Royal Society dealt with the eye, vision and light. The opening of the cone (A) held the lens (convex). This shape of course placed a curved image on the rear screen (BC). The section between BC and DE was not fixed, in that BC could be moved inward allowing a larger or smaller picture. In his study of the eye, Hooke imitates the pupil by securing diaphragms at the lens to show expansion and contraction. The opening at (H) is for looking in, to see the image. The plumb-bob-looking thing at the bottom is believed by some, to be a type of handle that the artist could use to point the instrument, and to help support it (we believe it could have been driven into a post or fence etc. as a means of anchoring when out-of-doors). This is reminiscent of how photographers of today prop up their telephoto lenses on tripods or other firm foundations.
 
     
 

 
       
 
1685
JOHANN ZAHN (1631 - 1707)

This year, Zahn published in Wurzburg 'Oculus Artificialis Teledioptricus Sive Telescopium' (Zahn, J., Wurzburg, 1685-6). In this wondrous book, we find many descriptions and illustrations of both the camera obscura and magic lantern. Zahn used the lantern for anatomical lectures, illustrated a large workshop camera obscura for solar observations using the telescope and scioptric ball, demonstrated the use of mirrors and lenses to erect the image, enlarge and focus it. Zahn also designed several portable camera obscuras for drawing using the 45 degree mirror, and used side flaps to shield unwanted light. Zahn's camera obscuras were the closest thing to what 19th century cameras were. Zahn gave credit for the magic lantern to Kircher and mentions Schott and De Chales in his references. Zahn also suggested the presentation of images under water and proceeded to explain, and stressed the importance of hiding the magic lantern out of sight of the audience. This book also goes on to show how time (a clock) can be projected onto a larger screen, and how wind direction can be seen by having a connection from the lantern to a wind vane on the roof of the building. Zahn even foresaw the use of the lantern to project the image on glass which allowed several to view at one time, as opposed to the camera obscura which was limited largely to one observer at a time [excepting the room camera] (as the kinetoscope surpassed the mutoscope for the same reason).
A Page Of Illustrations From Johann Zahn's 1685 Oculis
The page to the above right (from Zahn's 'Oculus Artificialis Teledioptricus Sive Telescopium' of 1685) shows a drawing by Johannes Zahn in the bottom frame, of a portable camera obscura with side flaps in order to shield unwanted light from the viewer's vision. It was considered portable not only because of it's size but also it's ability to be moved easily from room to room. Notice its roller-wheels. Zahn was a visionary in many ways. He suggested the camera could be used underwater, projected on glass for multiple use and, as a clock.
 
     
  Zahn's camera obscuras were the closest thing to what 19th century cameras were. Zahn gave credit for the magic lantern to Kircher and mentions Schott and De Chales in his references. Zahn also suggested the presentation of images under water and proceeded to explain, and stressed the importance of hiding the magic lantern out of sight of the audience.

This book also goes on to show how time (a clock) can be projected onto a large screen, and how wind direction can be seen by having a connection from the lantern to a wind vane on the roof of the building. Zahn even foresaw the use of the lantern to project the image on glass, which allowed several to view at a time, as opposed to the camera obscura, which was limited pretty well to one observer at a time (as the Kinetoscope surpassed the Mutoscope for the same reason).

 
     
     
 

 
       
 
Designed By Herigone And Illustrated By Zahn - The Goblet Camera Obscura 1685
JOHANN ZAHN (1631 - 1707)

In his 'Oculus' Zahn gave us an illustration of a very interesting camera obscura in the shape of a goblet. This design was that of the French mathematician Pierre Herigone, in 1642. Herigone wrote 'Supplementum Cursus Mathematici' and in chapter 6, page 113 he described his goblet camera obscura but without any drawing or illustration.

The goblet camera obscura design (left) of Pierre Herigone (1642), and illustrated by Johannes Zahn in his 'Oculus Artificialis Teledioptricus Sive Telescopium' (1685). An ingenious device actually if you wanted to spy on others while enjoying their company over a drink. The mirror (f ) was on a 45 degree angle in the base with a stylized opening for the lens (A) so as not to create suspicion. The goblet had a cup (CD) made of glass where the image could be seen. The lid (centre) had a magnifying lens (D) at the top. This was likely a novelty with little practical significance. One wonders what others would think of a user with his eye so close to the cup or lid.
 
     
 

 
       
 
In 1685 Johann Zahn published his 'Oculus Artificialis Teledioptricus Sive Telescopium'. In it he wrote on the use of the lantern to project the image on glass, which allowed several to view at one time. This lanternslide (right) depicts a winter scene and provides a strong suggestion of movement. (Courtesy The International Arts, Antiques and Collectibles Forum)
A Typical Lantern Slide of the 19th Century
 
     
 

 
       
 
A Portable Reflex Camera On Wheels 1685
JOHANN ZAHN (1631 - 1707)

Perhaps the most prolific writer and illustrator of the camera obscura, Zahn has left us with many different diagrams, illustrations and sketches. The 5 entries found below are all from Zahn's 'Oculus' of 1685 . . . .



1 One of his reflex cameras (left) showing the interior with 45-degree mirror, raised flap at rear, and an extended lens with the cap off. This lens was really the same as used today. It could provide a clear focus because it was housed within a cylindrical tube and was then brought forward or back. Notice again, the wheels for ease of movement.
 
       
 
A Reflex Camera Drawing From Oculis Of 1685
Illustration From Zahn's Oculus Of A Room Camera Obscura With Instruments
2 Zahn was a student of light as well as the eye and vision in general. He studied the camera obscura effect as well as the magic lantern. When speaking of the lantern, Zahn pays respect to Kircher when he says; "the projection of images of objects was announced in a wonderful manner by Kircher." The drawing (above-left) shows the great interest Zahn had in the ability to study light and in particular, the heavenly bodies. The Latin words along the sun ray translates as.... "It shows the dark spots from high heaven". Clearly we can see the telescopic lens Zahn would use to provide a sharp upright image.

3 The interior shown (right) (again from 'Oculus') in this engraving could very likely be the room illustrated in the picture left-above [2] (or one similar). This camera obscura shows a telescope housed within a scioptric ball (mounted on the upper left wall) but more importantly, notice the attached steering-rod immediately underneath the telescope. The rod was used to follow the movement of the sun throughout the day thereby tracking it's movement. On the right wall can be seen a bench supporting the screen, a long screw and bracket for adjustment. An extremely bright and clearly focused image of the sun or landscape could be seen through this method. On the floor we can see the scioptric ball, telescope, adjusting bracket and lens. Johannes Zahn was a visionary who was obviously ahead of his time when one considers the many ideas, suggestions, inventions and various camera obscuras and lanterns that he made.
 
       
 
Zahn's Drawings Showing The Use Of Lenses 4 Here (right) we see a collection of portable camera obscuras including a telescopic tube, which could house a telescopic lens. In the centre example (long 3-piece) notice the smaller circumferenced middle used for focusing by sliding the piece back or forth. Besides illustrating the use of a biconvex lens to correct images, Zahn also presented the effect produced from a telescopic lens (close-ups), by inserting a negative lens. This allowed a larger image without the use of a more cumbersome camera obscura frontal section (see Brander 1769). Three of these telescopic cameras can be seen here in the illustration to the left, from an extract of 'Oculus', 1685.
A Collection Of Portable Cameras From Zahn's Oculus
5 Zahn shows us here (above) the variances in using different lenses to enlarge the image (concave) or correct it (convex). One interesting point we notice here is that on the white sheet or screen that Zahn uses to make his illustration, we see that the 'curtain" is up. Two draw-cords are clearly visible with the curtain bundled at the top [reminiscent of the curtain going up at the cinema - remember that Zahn also suggested hiding the lantern out of view of the audience]. Taken from 'Oculus Artificialis Teledioptricus Sive Telescopium', Wurzburg, 1685-1686.
 
     
 

 
       
     
  1687
MARCO ANTONIO CELLIO ( - )
   
  Cellio designed a portable camera used for copying copperplate etchings, silhouettes and paintings.  
       
       
  1690
CLAUDE FRANCOIS MILLIET DE CHALES (1621 - 1678)
   
  On page 696 of his second edition of 'Cursus S. Mundus', (published after his death) De Chales details his meeting with Walgensten in Lyons back in 1665. In the section on optics, De Chales tells us he knew the retinal image is reversed. He also attempted three-dimensional projection and improved on the intersector of Alberti, by adding a mirror. De Chales spoke of Witelo and Alhazen.  
       
       
  SOMETIME IN 1690    
  The French poet and writer Fenelon wrote what might be considered a non-fiction(?) fable on the effects of nature's reflection when we read: "There was no painter in that country; but if anybody wished to have the portrait of a friend, of a picture, a beautiful landscape, or of any other object, water was placed in great basins of gold or silver, and the object desired to be painted was placed in front of that water. After a while the water froze and became a glass mirror, on which an ineffaceable image remained."  Whether this is fiction or real we leave to the reader however, consider SHOA ONG 121 B.C. and 1760 DE LA ROCHE. Also remember (see 40-96 A.D. PABLIUS PAPINIUS STATIUS) the poem 'The Hair of Earinus' by Statius . . . "do you only fix your glance upon it and leave your features here. Thus he spoke and showed the mirror with the image caught therein."  The fable by Fenelon was entitled 'Une Voyage Suppose'.  
       
       
 

 
     
 
From Dioptica Nova - William Molyneux's Magic Lantern Image 1690
WILLIAM MOLYNEUX (1656 - 1698)

A professor at Trinity College in Dublin, Molyneux in his 'Dioptica Nova' (Treatise on Dioptics, Molyneux, W., Dublin, 1692) which was published two years after it was written, devoted a whole section to the magic lantern and the camera obscura. His book also contained on the last page, an advertisement for such things, from a London dealer. On page 181, table 38, figure 2, Molyneux illustrates his lantern clearly showing a condensing lens, and described the painted scenes as "frightful and ludicrous". A combination of lenses were used to provide telescopic effects and a long throw. Molyneux's work is very likely the first English account in scientific terms of this art-science.
Molyneux's magic lantern (above) of 1690, (published in 1692) from 'Dioptica Nova' (Treatise on Dioptics, Molyneux, W., Dublin, fig2, tab38, p181, 1692). This illustration shows a simple candle as the source of illumination and a condensing lens. Notice the object being projected is a cross, and is upside down in front of the lens (h) in order to give an upright image, as opposed to the other way around which was the norm in almost all other illustrations you see of the magic lantern (excepting Cheselden and Kircher).
 
     
 

 
       
       
  1693-1694
WILHELM HOMBERG (1652 - 1715)
   
  This German chemist and member of the Academie Royale Des Sciences in Paris conducted numerous studies of light-sensitivity in some silver salts. He noticed that bone dipped in silver nitrate would darken in sunlight, but he did not differentiate it (the action of the sun's light) from the action of heat, as Schulze did. He also discovered leuchtstein from lime and muriatric acid.  
       
       
   
 

 
     
 
1694
ROBERT HOOKE (1635 - 1703)

Hooke describes his "picture-box" in a paper to the Royal Society. Dernham, in 1726 would compile Hooke's work in 'Philosophical Experiments and Observations of the Late Eminent Dr. Hooke.' Hooke's instrument allowed the viewer to observe and draw just about anything, as Hooke said, "take the draught or picture of anything." The illustration shows a man with his head inserted in the device.



In 1694, nine years before his death, Hooke presented a paper to the Royal Society and yet another camera obscura. This one (right) was also slightly cone shaped, and allowed the head and shoulders to be inserted. Although uncomfortable looking, the user could sketch scenes outdoors as it was of course, portable. In fact, Robert Hooke encouraged its use in the travel and tourism industry in England at that time. On the matter, he wrote;
One Of Hooke's Portable Camera Obscura's For Aid In Drawing
"The Instrument I mean for this purpose is nothing else but a small Picture-Box much like that which I long since shewed the Society, for Drawing the Picture of a Man, or the like; of the Bigness of the original or of any proportionable Bigness that should be desired, as well bigger as smaller than the Life, which I believe was the first of that kind which was ever made or described by any. And possibly this may be the first of this kind that has been applied to this use."     - Robert Hooke, 1694
 
     
 

 
       
       
       
       
     
 
       
       
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