Treasures of pre-cinema history
The magic lantern
John Scott, London
John Scott must have been a smart businessman. In 1782 he founded...
...a shop for artist material in London. Scott made a fortune with his "invention" of a blue paint. In April 1790, Scott travelled to Germany to exhibited the blue paint in a stall during the Frankfurt (Main) Spring Fair in the house of "Mr. Reichert in the Große Sandgasse". Scott wanted to push the sale of his paint and looked out for an agent in Germany. He found Mrs. G.W. Garkoch seel. Wittlib.
The two merchants Christian Kirchdorfer from Nuremberg and Peter Friedrich Albert from Frankfurt exhibited during the Spring Fair the new genre of philosophical toys, including the magic lantern. The concept of philosophical toys was initiated by Peter Friedrich Catel in Berlin around 1779. A new world must have opened up for John Scott during his stay in town with his spontaneous decision to introduce philosophical toys in England for the first time. The new type of toys was unknown in his home country until then. During the fair Scott commissioned a workshop in Bavaria (most likely of Fürth) for a first delivery of toys later that year. This is indicated by his fire insurance policy taken out on 12 June 1790, which declared him as "water colourman" and for the first time as "toyman".
His order of toys from Fürth arrived in December 1790 or in the first week of the year 1791 in London. Scott announced in a London newspaper on January 7, 1791 that he had "imported large quantities of lanterns from Germany; they are contained in neat boxes, each lantern with 12 slides (...) half a guinea to two guineas each also some larger at 12 guineas each".
The business relationship with the workshop in Fürth (Bavaria) lasted till 1806, when Napoleon announced the Continental Blockage. All business between Continental Europe and England stopped abrupt. In the same year John Scott closed his business. The gallery shows a series of very exquisite hand-painted slides from Fürth in Bavaria, which were distributed in England by John Scott from 1791 to 1806. Each slide is named with John Scott and his address, 417 Strand, London.
Set 01 - John Scott, London
Slides distributed in England by John Scott, London.
Set 02 - John Scott, London
The frame is stamped with "Scott. Maker No. 417, Strand London". John Scott (1752-1838).