Márcia Vilarigues is Assistant Professor at the Conservation Department of FCT, NOVA University of Lisbon. She works in the field of Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage in the area of Technical Art History and Materials Degradation. Her research motivation focusses on the preservation of our material cultural history and on enriching the knowledge of our shared past through the history of historical objects. Since 2011, Márcia Vilarigues is the Director of the Research Unit VICARTE – Vidro e Cerâmica para as Artes (Glass and Ceramic for the Arts).
Magic lantern hand-painted slides and the 19th century artists’ colourmen Winsor & Newton
Márcia Vilarigues*1, Vanessa Otero2
1 Department of Conservation and Restoration and VICARTE, Faculty of Sciences and Technology, Universidade NOVA de Lisboa, Monte da Caparica, Portugal
2 Department of Conservation and Restoration and LAQV-REQUIMTE, Faculty of Sciences and Technology, Universidade NOVA de Lisboa, Monte da Caparica, Portugal
The Magic lantern was the first popular apparatus for the projection of images, with extraordinary success in all social media. With its projection of images and simultaneous use of sounds, the magic lantern was an audio-visual form with a high impact on the ludic and pedagogical events of the 19th century. Until the appearance of photography (and even after) the images projected by Magic Lanterns were hand-painted on glass slides. This required the mastery of painting on a glass substrate; since all details were magnified through projection, hand-painted glass slides are considered to be miniature masterpieces in their own right. Specific colors and materials for painting on glass appeared for the first time in Winsor &Newton catalogue from 1863
A selected set of hand-painted glass slides dating from the eighteenth through to the twentieth centuries and produced by a range of international manufacturers will be the focus of this project. The glass substrate, paint composition and application techniques will be characterized chemically in an effort to assign production periods and sites. We will undertake reconstructions with historically appropriate materials and techniques to be used as reference samples for testing degradation mechanisms and preservation procedures. The powerful combination of investigating the material and immaterial role of Magic Lantern glass slides, will directly impact on their preservation, interpretation and appreciation.