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Nekes Collection of Optical Devices, Prints, and Games, 1700-1996 (bulk 1740-1920)

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Nekes Collection of Optical Devices, Prints, and Games
Series III. Artifacts, 1700- circa 1980
Series includes optical instruments and artists' aids as well as viewers designed to exhibit prints (including those in Series I and II) while creating special effects through backlighting, movement or transformation.
An 18th-century mirrored cone of Dutch origin is used to transform and view the accompanying 13 water-colored anamorphic pictures. The anamorphic images are possibly part of a series introduced by the title/proverb in Old Dutch "Verwagt nog beeter" ("expect even better"). The zograscope is used to enlarge and view non-pricked vues d'optique. Artists' aids include a box-form camera obscura used for drawing images from nature, a camera lucida and a pocket-size Lorrain mirror. Another camera obscura in the form of a large wooden book perhaps had a twofold purpose as a camera obscura and as a viewer for non-backlit vues d'optique.
Objects that functioned as toys and games include montage toys (functioning by simple juxtaposition of images or parts of images, such as a myriorama by Friedrich Campe, a physionotrace, and a number of mica overlays), flipbooks and rebus games, as well as moving toys (e.g. the magnetic lottery or "Magic painter," which rotates by means of a hidden magnet, the polymorphoscope with a multifaceted rotating lens which multiplies the single image painted on a glass slide, and a Spanish-made metal figure, moved by balancing a counterweight). A florentine stone, although a natural object, has a pattern that resembles the profile of a metropolis. A one-lens magic lantern (the English Praestantia, by the Riley Brothers) is accompanied by 18 slides of different sizes which represent the variety of slides made for the 19th-century commercial market.
Peepshows are represented by a variety of three-dimensional paper theaters ranging from perspective theaters designed Martin Engelbrecht (see Appendix 2) in the 18th century, to early-20th century paper souvenirs illustrating foreign places, legendary events, religious icons and fairy-tales characters. A particularly detailed item in this category is a many layered peepshow from 18th-century central Europe depicting a sumptuous religious festival. Another kind of paper theater is represented by the Ombres Chinoises, a popular miniature shadow theater from France which includes four backdrops. These depict theatrical shows such as the serpentine dance (an allusion to Loie Fuller), a town carnival, and the grand fountains at Versailles.
There are two sets of late 19th-century thaumatropes (i.e. "wheel of wonder") from Germany and from France. Thaumatropes are small paper discs (with a diameter of approximately 2 1/2 inches) with related images on each side which merge into one another when they are twirled by the strings attached at the sides of the discs. Also included is a set of moving panoramas, i.e. the discs to be viewed with a phenakistoscope, included in this collection, made in the 1830's by the English company S. W. Fores Optical Illusions. These panorama discs, of approximately 8" in diameter, depict sequential scenes displayed in segments and are viewed while rotating in front of a mirroring surface. The collection holds another set of three discs made in Germany in the same period.
Two different types of hand-held stereoscopes are included in this series: one based on Oliver Wendell Holmes' model, and one made by David Brewster (1781-1868) in England. Two pictures (one from Germany and one from England) accompany the Holmes' type stereoscope. These slides display two separate images adjacent to each other (for example a bird and a cage) which, when viewed through the stereoscope, merge into one whole scene. A third stereoscope in the collection is the large column stereo viewer (Box 75**). A set of about 80 glass stereoscopic slides depict panoramic views mostly of European landscapes, city monuments and wars (with a few views of Middle Eastern sites).
Six viewers designed to view backlit images include: two polyorama panoptiques in large and small formats, a moving panorama, meant to be backlit with candlelight and depicting a tour through London's squares, and a French viewing stand with twelve oval backlit prints of famous cities and monuments including Paris, London, and Constantinople. In this group also is included a 15 ft-long rolled panorama depicting the route from Hamburg to Altona, a lithophane lamp-shade, and a wooden foldable viewing box with two lenses (to allow two viewers at the same show) for backlit vues d'optique.
22 Anamorphic pictures, 1700
13 square hand drawn, watercolor anamorphic pictures, with hand-written numbers in parenthesis (1-4, 6, 8-12, 15, 17, 18). Contemporary with cone viewer in box 23. On verso of all pictures appear initials in ink: AVM. ca.27x27 cm.
23 Konus-spigel, 1700
The Netherlands. Cone viewer for anamorphic images; 7.8x8.4 cm.; in original box.
24 Camera lucida = Chambre claire universelle, undated
With 12 lenses in box; 28x6x2.5 cm. box.
25 Nouvelle Chambre Claire Universelle, undated
Par P. Bervil-le; 25, Rue de la Chaussée -d'Antin; [Ed. Hemmelé ?]; Paris. Booklet. On cover: Notice explicative sur la chambre claire universelle brevetée S. G. D. G.; Appareil permanent de reduire, agrandir, copier des paysages, portraits, documents, objets etc. rapidement et exactement (25 pp. with some illustrations); 17x12.3 cm.
26 Lorrain mirror, 1800s
German? Used by artists for translating colors into graded shades for drawing; also reduces scale; 8x7x1.5 cm.
27 Box-form camera obscura, 1860
La nature calquée directement; B.A. Paris; 9359 Imp. Hemmerlé et Cie. With instructions in French and drawers for supplies; portable; 13.5x14.5x24.8 cm. and lens tube 4x4 cm.
Rectangular wooden box divided with biconvex lens, a mirror (displayed diagonally at 45o across the area), glass on the upper surface of the box, and a lid that can be lifted. Instructions in French suggest placing tracing paper on the glass to trace the image reflected by the mirror. Contains two small compartments for tools storage; 13x4.5x4.5 cm. and 13x4.5x3 cm. Below these are two small drawers, 13x11.5x3 cm.
28** Theatre de l'Univers, circa 1750
Made in France. A camera obscura shaped like a book; title on "spine"; possibly used also as a viewer for vues d'optique; 10x36x55 cm.; when opened to 90 degrees, turns into an optical device. A vue d'optique placed inside is reflected in the mirror (10.5x13 cm.) which is angled at 45 degrees on the top of the book cover and is joined to a bi-convex lens (5x10 cm.); when unfolded the book-form camera obscura measures 56 cm. in height.
29** Zograscope, circa 1750
Made in Holland. Used to view, focus, and enlarge prints. Also known in contemporary sources as "show glass" or "diagonal mirror," it was named zograscope by instrument-maker George Adams; wood and glass; 26x51x20 cm. diam.
30 Florentine / Tuscany pictorial stone, undated
With illusionary landscape; 13x8.5x1 cm.
See also Box 1* folder 11 for print of florentine stone and of dendrites. Cfr. Baltrusaitis, Aberrations. Chapter 2, Pictorial stones.
31 Friedr[ich] Protzen's Kupfer Schablonen, 1880
Germany; Kupfer-Schablonen- Fabri-ck von Friedr. Protzen; Unter den Linden 24. Bel-Etage im Gerold'-schen Hause; Ber-lin.
Children's game of 17 copper plates used as stencils for painting; 2.3x12x7.3 cm.; plates circa 6x7 cm. and smaller; with original charcoal pencil.
32 [Magnetic lottery] 1770
Austria or The Netherlands.Wood; On verso of box hand-written caption reads: A French ... / This is 80 / years old / 1894 / M. F. Walker/ Clefton House / Searbis; 11.5x12.2x2.5cm. Plus 4 colored wood slides with pictures on both faces, depicting: landscapes, 2 still lives, and a portrait; 10.5x11 cm.
Repository has another copy of this item: see Le peintre abile, or, Magic painter, Special Collections accn. no. 96.R.58.
33 Polymorphoscope, 1840
England. With faceted and convex lens; 23x8x7 cm. (3x 4.5 cm. diameter viewer).
Plus 10 slides, hand-painted on glass; 5.5x7.5cm. and smaller: 1. bees; 2. parrot; 3. butterfly; 4. clown's face; 5. wind-mill; 6. old woman face; 7. man and woman; 8. two men with joining noses; 9. swan [cracked glass]; 10. [Untitled].
34 Pop-out card game, circa 1850-1890
France. 16 cards show historical scenes with 8 pop-out holes which contain questions and answers; 13x18.5cm.
35 Rebus game, circa 1700-1750
France. 23 playing cards illustrate rebus images, plus a card with explanations. Original set of 24 cards, No. 19 missing; 11.5x8.2cm.
36 Myriorama, undated
Germany; Nürnberg; bei Fredrich Campe. 16 parts; Classical ruins landscape; 19.5x7cm.
37 Physionotrace, circa 1800-1850
England. Man's profile on paper plus cutouts to change his physiognomy and dress (12 noses, 2 hats, 1 uniform); picture drawn on cardboard; 12.8x10.2cm.
38 Comic metamorphoses for boys = Komisches Metamorphosenspiel für Knaben = Les métamorphoses jeu comique pour les garçons = Komik. Verrandelings Spel voor Jongens, circa 1820
Made in England or Germany. Wooden box with cards in three segments from letter "a" through "m" to create various figure (horizontal montage game); hand-colored titles in four languages; initials Frk. in corner; 21x13.5cm.
39 Spanish animation toy, 1890
A man with a cane, made of metal stands balanced by a counterweight; 23.5x16cm.; 45cm. long.
40 Metamorphosis / Montage, Flip books, 1840 2 book(s)
40 Klappbilderbuch so oder so, undated
Germany. 12. heitere Doppel-bilder gezeichnet v. Leo-nhardt Diefenbach u. a. Kunstlern. 12 double pages; 18x21 cm.
40 Neues Verwandlungs-Bilderbuch : zur Unterhaltung und Belustingung der heiteren Jugend mit sechs Doppelbildern in lithograph, undated
Farbendruck, Germany. Verlag von J. F. Shcreiber [sic]; Esslingen; Original Steinzei-chnungen von Maler W. von Breitschwert.
Title page is a xerox; 27x22 cm.
40 Magic picture book = Bilder-Zauberei = Livre de la magie graphique, 1860
Germany; Nürnberg; D. u. V. v. Tauber & Geek. 12cm.
40 Novelty! Metamorphoses Picture-Book = Verwandlungs-Bilder-Buch = Nouveauté! Livre de Metamorphoses, 1850
Germany. Foldout in three parts with montage cutouts in the central section.
41 Paper overlays, circa 1750-1790
England. Written caption: "heads drawn by Samuel Archdale Beddouse"; Burritt and Hudson 85 Cheap-side; blindstamp.
Head with characters; consists of 39 hand-drawn paper overlays with identification or comments and 1 portrait on cardboard; in modern green box: 21x119 cm.
42 [Portrait with costumes] circa 1700
7 oval mica overlays (8.5x6.5 cm.); and 1 oval paper portrait, with a walnut box; 13x10 cm. The mica overlays have costumes painted on them which, when laid on top of the portrait, change the character of the portrait.
43 [Indian trades] 1820-1860
11 mica overlays illustrate Indian trades 11.5x8 cm.; and 1 card; 11.5x7.5 cm.;
44 [Birds] 1800s 1. 10.8x15.3cm.; (in bad condition)2. 10.8x15 cm.; (in bad condition)3. 11x15.5 cm.; (in good condition)
English. 3 single mica cards depict birds
45 [Purse-shaped montage] circa 1750-1790
4 cards and portrait; military uniforms and ethnic costumes; 6.5x7 cm.; cards: 6.2x6.2 cm.
46** Magic lantern slides, undated 18 slides
#6-18 slides are framed; some have mechanic devices to rotate or move the images. 1-5 are smaller single-glass slides without any mechanism to produce movement.
46** [Cartoon figures]
46** [Harlequin: 2 sequences]
With French text written on slide.
46** [Racial and ethnic types] 2 slides
46** [Cartoon depicting man smoking and causing an explosion]
Numbered 5-8.
46** [Boat at sea]
Newton & Co. Opticians; Fleet St.; London.
46** [Chromatrope]
Newton & Co. Opticians; Fleet St.; London.
46** [Two characters looking at each other]
46** [Childrens' parade]
Newton & Co. Opticians; Fleet St.; London.
46** [Magician's tricks: 3 sequences]
46** [Three landscapes]
N.B., Black background is chipping.
46** [Burlesque scene of man riding a donkey: 3 sequences]
46** [Phantasmagoria: 3 sequences]
46** [Village fair]
46** [Caricatures and types] 4 slides
47** Praestantia, circa 1885-1900
Bradford, England; Riley Brothers. Magic lantern with one lens (diam. 4.5cm.); iron, brass, and glass, with electric bulb; 23.5x13x35.5cm. Top part of magic lantern has label: M. D. & S. J. Wilks / 26 Errwood Avenue / Temple Meads / Buxton / Derbys. SK17 9BD / Tel. Buxton 3821. Date from Magic images, p. 27.
48 Paper peep shows, 1939
48 World of tomorrow : New York World's Fair 1789-1939, 1939
Copyright by Elizabeth Sage Hare & Warren Chappeu. Proscenium plus 4 layers and backdrop; 12.5x16.5x0.5 cm. (when folded).
48 Le petit chaperon rouge, 1939
Paris; Au bon mar-ché; Maison Aristide Boucicaut. Small peepshow; color; N.B., 1 small figure has separated from the peepshow, included.
48 Mère du Sauveur, priez pour nous, 1939
Paris; Villemur, éditeur; Rue de la Harpe, 55. Paper doily and peepshow with image of the Madonna; pricked; 11.5x7 cm.
48 Nansen in the Polar regions, 1939
Same as in Box 49 below; not mounted.
49 Three small peepshows, 1920s
London, Paris, New York; Raphael Tuck & Sons, Ltd. Printed in Germany. Each 10x5x8.5 cm.
49 Nansen in the Polar regions
See also Box 48.
49 Mount Vesuvius, Italy
49 Lake Lucerne, Switzerland.
50 [Religious festival] circa 1830-1875
Elaborate peepshow, with 62 accordion folds, that expands to 1.30 m. x 47 cm. high. Origin unknown (Northern France or Netherlands?). Hand-painted Church interior displays a religious feast.
51 Engelbrecht perspective theaters: large format, 1700s 7 theaters
Most cited in La camera dei sortilegi, as noted.
51 [Praesentation einer Hirsch-Jagd]
Series no. 14; sheets [89], 90-94; 5 parts and backdrop. Cfr. La camera dei sortilegi, p. 60.
51 [Praesentation eines scharffen Rencontre]
Series no. 18; sheets 114-118; 3 parts and backdrop. Cfr. La camera dei sortilegi, p. 60.
51 Präsentation der Italiänischen Comödianten, circa 1700
I. Wachmuht inv. et del. Series n.o 22; sheets 137-142; proscenium and 4 parts and 2 different backdrops (both numbered 142, a garden view and the background theater interior); large format, part of 20x20 cm. Cfr. La camera dei sortilegi, p. 49 and p. 60.
51 [Praesentation des Markus Platzes in Venedig]
Series no. 35; sheets [225], [...], [...], [...], [231]; proscenium and 3 parts and backdrop. Cfr. La camera dei sortilegi, p. 60.
51 Representation d'un joutte sur l'eau
Alternate title: [Praesentation eines schönen Fischer Stechen]
Series no. 47; sheets ; 2 parts and backdrop. Cfr. La camera dei sortilegi, p. 61.
51 [Theater]
Series no. 48; sheets 317, 319, 320, [321], [322]; proscenium and 4 parts and backdrop.
51 [Der Bethlehemitische Kindermort]
Series no. 57; sheets [379], 380-385; proscenium and 5 parts and backdrop; colored engraving; 17x19cm. Cfr. La camera dei sortilegi, p. 37 and p. 61; also at Milan, Museo della Scala; Munich, Bayerische National-museum; and Augsburg, Staats und Stadt Bibliothek.
52 Engelbrecht perspective theaters: medium format, circa 1720 12 theaters
Theaters are partial, with pieces missing.
52 [Roman military camp] circa 1720
5 parts and 1 backdrop and 1 synthesis sheet; hand colored on parchment, this set is constituted of two originally separate sets, which however present the same handwriting on the verso of the various layers: layers 1, 2, 3, belong to one set; layers 4-6 belong to another; 8.5X13 cm.
52 [Channel with northern city in background]
4 parts (2 missing). Cfr. La camera dei sortilegi, p.57.
52 [Court life]
3 parts and backdrops.
52 [Villa with garden]
1 part and backdrop.
52 [Kitchen interior]
1 part and synthesis sheet.
52 [Village with ruins]
3 parts and synthesis sheet; possibly part 2 belongs to a different set.
52 [Synagogue lectern]
1 part.
52 [Joseph into the pit]
2 parts.
52 [Daniel in the lions' den]
1 backdrop.
52 [Christ's life]
1 part and backdrop.
52 [Winter]
1 part; copy of item #4 in Box 53, 3rd layer.
52 [Spring]
2 parts and synthesis sheet; copy of item #1 in Box 53, layers 2 and 4.
53 The Four Seasons, Engelbrecht perspective theaters: medium format, circa 1720
53 [Spring]
5 parts and backdrop.
53 Perspectivische Vortellung eines schönen Garten
Summer. 5 parts and backdrop.
53 Perspectivische Vorstellung des Englischen Grüsses und der Heimsuchung Maria
Fall. Proscenium and 5 parts and backdrop.
53 [Winter]
5 parts and backdrop.
54 Engelbrecht viewer, 1800s
Augsburg. With glass lens and opaque white glass lid. A horizontal wooden box with a modern lens and internal grooves to hold the layers of an Engelbrecht theater.
55 Thaumatropes disks, circa 1900 5 disk(s)
England. 6.4 cm. diam. each.
1-2. The juggler (2 copies); 3-4. Jack in the box (2 copies); 5. Get cracking
55 Jeu du Thaumatrope, 1890
France; Paris. Académie des arts graphiques; 18, Rue Malher. 10.5x16.5x2 cm. 10 paper thaumatropes, in cardboard box diameter 7.5 cm. 1. Au cirque; 2. Una grande représentation; 3. L'Oiseau e'énvole; 4. L'Aquarium; 5. La Malle des Indes; 6. Il était une Bergère; 7. La force prime le droit; 8. Sur le pont d'Avignon; 9. C'est la Mère Michel; 10. Steeple-Chase.
56 Handle for Moving panorama
Aka spindle doodle. Made by the repository to be used with panorama in Box 57
57 Fores's Moving Panorama or Optical Illusions, giving life and activity to inanimate objects : a nut for philosophers; to be viewed with a phenakistoscope , circa 1833-1834
London; S. W. Fores Optical Illu-sions, Publ.d at 41, Picadilly; S. W. Fores. Cardboard portfolio with set of 7 large English disks; 23.5 cm. diam., and 3 small German hand-colored disks (unknown maker); 19 cm. diam.
58 Ombres Chinoises, 1880
France, Paris; L. Saussine Éditeur. Large box with frame and groove to hold placards and rolls used to hang paper, 38x54x9.5 cm.; and 4 placards (paper on wood frame, fragile, colored lithograph?, badly ripped).
1. Danse serpentine dans la cage aux lions, signed Ludovic, 35x42cm.; 2. A Victor Hugo, 35x42 cm.; 3. [Town carnival] 35x42 cm.; 4. Grand eaux a Versailles; signed Ludovic, 35x42 cm.
59 Wooden hand stereoscope, 1860s or later
Holmes type, made in Germany? 19x32x10 cm.; lens 8x16 cm.
59 Stereoscopic cards 2 card(s)
When viewed through the stereoscope, the two parts of the image overlap, creating an optical illusion.
59 [Cage and bird]
Germany; Series no. 4.
59 [Man at table waiting to be served by woman who is entering the room with a dish]
London; William Spooner, 379 Strand; Series no 5. Caption: "Optical transpositions: great expectations, a magic novelty for the stereoscope."
60 Stereo viewer for backlit images, 1880
Brewster type, made in England. Wood; 11x17x15 cm.
61 Glass stereo slides, 1850s-1970s
Images of expositions and panoramic views of European landscapes, made by various manufacturers. 81 slides in 4 small boxes (a-d) organized by country in alphabetical order. See list of individual slides in the repositories' Research files.
61 (a) Austria, Bohemia, England, France
61 (b) Germany, Greece, Italy - art and architecture
61 (c) Italy - war, Middle East
61 (d) Spain, unidentified places
62 51 metal stereograph plates
To be used in the column stereo-viewer as ballast [see Box 75**]. Not original Nekes' material; 17x8.5 cm.
63** Lithophanie lamp shade Porcelain; 19.6x21.5 cm. diam.
64** Lithophanie lamp stem, silver, 36x15 cm.brass; 21.5x14 cm.
65** In excursion to London, 1880
Made in England. A panorama known as an "eidophusikon" or "moving panorama" with views of London, in a viewer for backlit prints. Wood and paper; candle holder in back of viewer. 18x17x9 cm.
66 Längenpanorama Reise von Hamburg nach Altona, 1823
A panorama scroll, made in Germany. 8x492 cm.
66 Peter Suhrs, Panorama einer Reise von Hamburg nach Altona und zurück, 1909
Erklärt von Dr. J. Heckscher; mit 7 Abbildungen. Berlin W. 30; Hermann Barsdorf Verlag; 1909. 136 pp.; 24x15.5 cm. Guidebook to a panorama.
67** Voyage Où Il Vous Plaira, 1860
Viewer for backlit prints, with prints. Made in France. Prints are stamped with the name J. C. Nicolai. Viewing stand for front and back lighting, and 12 oval backlit prints:
1. Versailles; 2. Londres, La Tamise; 3. Somerset House, Bernard Castle; 4. Notre Dame de Paris; 5. Tunnel de Rolleboise (Chemin du Hàvre); 6-7.Constantinople; 8. Venise; 9. La Tamise et le Tunnel; 10. Arsenal de Toulon ; 11. Les Bains de Dieppe; 12. Lugano.
68** Viewer for backlit prints, circa 1750
Vues d'optique viewer for two people, aka Guckkasten, made in Holland. Foldable; wood; h. 32.8 cm; w. 49.5 cm; d. 96 cm.
69 Polyorama panoptique, 1850
Brevet d'invention S. G.tie du Gouv.t; French.
Viewer for backlit prints composed of 3 parts: viewing lens on mahogany frame, a bellows (to regulate focus) and the slide box (slides are inserted from above); 12.5x16x14 cm.; paper, wood, and fabric; magnifying glass measures 3x3 cm. Cfr. Il mondo nuovo, p.103 and p.185. See backlit prints in Box 69.
69 Backlit prints, 1850 4 items
Images on paper in wood frames; with colored backing paper and pin-pricks. For use in the Polyorama panoptique, Box 69.
[Venice: Doge palace] badly ripped, 14.5x9.5 cm.; La nuite de Noël en Angleterre, 14.5x9.5 cm.; Regent Street: la Bourse (Londres) 14.5x9.5 cm.; [Castle] 14.5x9.5 cm.
70** Polyorama panoptique et diagraphique pour dessiner d'apres nature, 1851
France; Brevet d'invention S. G.tie du Gouv.t. Used also as a camera obscura. Viewer for translucent backlit images, composed of 3 parts: viewing lens on mahogany frame, a bellows (to regulate focus) and the slide box. Slides are inserted from the side to be viewed. Paper, wood, and fabric; 16.5 h. x 46 l. x 21.6 w. cm. See Box 7 for 18 images to be used with this type of viewer.
75** Wooden column stereo-viewer, late 1880s
Made in France. Floor-standing. See Box 62** for metal plates to be used with stereo-viewer for ballast.

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