MAGICA at the ENHQ:  Analyses  of  the  earliest  Portuguese  collection  of  slides 

Our team members spent a week analysing 20 hand-painted magic lantern slides from the 18th and 19th centuries held at the Science Museum of the University of Coimbra. Several analytical instruments travelled to the museum to examine them in situ. This investigation covers their historical background, the conservation state of glass and painting materials, and the multi-analytical characterisation of materials and painting techniques applied to these fascinating objects.

The preliminary results of this mission will be presented for the first time by Ângela Santos, Alexandra Rodrigues, Carla Machado, Gilberto Pereira, Vanessa Otero, and Márcia Vilarigues, through the oral presentation entitled "Shedding light into the earliest collection of magic lantern slides in Portugal" at the II Encontro Nacional de História da Química (ENHQ) to be held Online, on 8-9 September 2023.

Posted on 18 July 2023

The Magic Lantern was the first optical instrument for the projection of moving images allied with sounds and music, used worldwide.
MAGICA is the first systematic and comprehensive study on the relation between the tangible and intangible facets of the art of painting magic lantern glass slides and its use at science academies and entertainment places in Portugal.

This project emerged from a set of repositories of magic lanterns' images, preserved in several Portuguese collections, and aims to develop preservation methods for those images and try to understand how they relate to academic and cultural life (with a special focus on performing arts) of the country during the 19th century.

With an interdisciplinary team of conservation scientists, musicologists, conservators, curators, media archaeologists, theatrologists and artists, the MAGICA project will impact on the preservation, interpretation, rehabilitation and valorisation of this precious heritage as well as other associated documents such as theatrical texts, scores and iconographic records.