Magic lantern body and lens, circa 1857. [composite image] . Rouse Hill House & Farm Collection, Sydney Living Museums. Photo © Jamie North

Comic sliders

The Rouse Hill House collection of magic lantern slides includes ten comic slip slides, also called sliders or slippers.

These timber- framed slides, all manufactured by Newton & Co, comprise a primary slide with a hand-coloured image on a black background, as well as a secondary sliding glass plate with patches of black paint on particular parts of the otherwise clear glass. Moving this secondary slide provides animation to the scene by masking or unmasking parts of the painted slide. Newton & Co used in-house artists to paint their comic slides but the general subjects were rarely unique to a single magic lantern slide manufacturer.

The comic sliders at Rouse Hill include a ‘Village Dentist’ showing the extraction of a tooth; a slide titled ‘Cockney Fishing‘ showing a fisherman catching a kettle, not a fish; ‘Off to the Continent’ showing a man and his dog on Folkestone railway platform swept off their feet by a porter who isn’t looking where he is going.  There is also a ‘Barber shaving’, a ‘Skipping rope nuisance’, a ‘Patent bedstead’, ‘Acrobats’, and a slide titled ‘Don’t you wish you may get it’ in which a monkey teases a chained dog but gets caught when the dog breaks his chain. The Rouse Hill collection also includes a damaged double slipping slide of a ‘Man swallowing rat’, one of the most popular comic slides of the nineteenth century.


 

  • A timber framed glass magic lantern slide featuring a hand-drawn and coloured image of a male acrobat juggling an old woman, a ball and a broom(?). The framed is stamped with the manufacturer’s details and the slide title is inscribed on the top edge in b

    Acrobat

  • A timber framed glass magic lantern slide depicting man balancing old woman on his outstretched hand. The frame is stamped with the manufacturer’s details and the slide title is inscribed on the top edge in black ink.

    Acrobat

  • Acrobat

  • A timber framed, glass magic lantern slide featuring a hand drawn and coloured image of a man being shaved. A secondary sliding glass plate provides movement of the barber's arm and razor.

    Barber shaving

  • A timber framed, glass magic lantern slide featuring a hand drawn and coloured image of a man being shaved. A secondary sliding glass plate provides movement of the barber's arm and razor.

    Barber shaving

  • A timber framed glass magic lantern slide featuring a hand-drawn and coloured image of a man falling out of bed. The frame is stamped with manufacturer's details and the slide title is inscribed on the top edge in black ink.

    Patent bedstead

  • A timber framed glass magic lantern slide featuring a hand-drawn and coloured image of a man falling out of bed. The frame is stamped with manufacturer's details and the slide title is inscribed on the top edge in black ink.

    Patent bedstead

  • A timber framed glass magic lantern slide featuring a hand-drawn and coloured image of a dentist pulling a tooth. A secondary sliding glass plate provides before and after images of the extraction.

    Village Dentist

  • A timber framed glass magic lantern slide featuring a hand-drawn and coloured image of a dentist pulling a tooth. A secondary sliding glass plate provides before and after images of the extraction.

    Village Dentist

  • A timber framed glass magic lantern slide featuring a hand-drawn and coloured image of a man in bed with a rat running into his mouth. Secondary (hinged) and tertiary (sliding) glass plates open and close his mouth and move the rat.

    Man Swallowing Rat

  • A timber framed glass magic lantern slide featuring a hand-drawn and coloured image of a man in bed with a rat running into his mouth. Secondary (hinged) and tertiary (sliding) glass plates open and close his mouth and move the rat.

    Man Swallowing Rat

  • A timber framed, glass magic lantern slide featuring a hand drawn and coloured image of a man with dog and luggage on Folkestone railway platform. A secondary sliding glass plate depicts the man being knocked off his feet.

    Off to the continent

  • A timber framed, glass magic lantern slide featuring a hand drawn and coloured image of a man with dog and luggage on Folkestone railway platform being knocked off his feet. The frame is stamped with manufacturer's details and the slide title is inscribed

    Off to the continent

A timber framed glass magic lantern slide featuring a hand-drawn and coloured image of a monkey and a chained dog. A secondary sliding glass plate is missing and the image is damaged.

Don't you wish you may get it?

A timber framed, glass magic lantern slide featuring a hand-drawn and coloured image of a girl skipping rope. A secondary sliding glass plate is missing. The frame is stamped with the manufacturer's details and slide title is inscribed on top in black.

Skipping rope nuisance

About the authors

Head and shoulders photo of woman holding up card to face with conservator's white glove on hand.

Megan Martin

Former Head, Collections & Access

Megan is the former head of Collections & Access at Sydney Living Museums. She has a particular interest in the working of the historical imagination, in teasing out the meanings of objects in museums collections and in crafting the stories that can be recovered/discovered through a close reading of those items of material culture.

Portrait of woman against background of prickly pear foliage.

Holly Schulte

Curator Digital Assets

Holly is the Curator Digital Assets with Sydney Living Museums where she is part of the Collections & Access team.