NMSAT :: Networked Music & SoundArt Timeline

1824 __ Myriorama
John Clark (?-?)
Comment : In 1824 John Clark of London, designed and illustrated a child's table game consisting of sixteen landscape cards with interchangeable views. The game was was known as the Myriorama, and was manufactured by Samuel Leigh. Nineteenth century printing technology enabled the Myriorama to become a very popular form of picture entertainment because, as the first series of the Myriorama stated; "The Myriorama is a moveable Picture, capable of forming an almost endless variety of Picturesque Scenery". The cards were first illustrated, then engraved and finally coloured by hand. Varying scenes of the sea, rural cottages, dales, castles, as well as rustic scenes, were fully interchangeable and allowed the user to arrange them in any order thereby creating a near-endless assortment of panoramic landscapes, "quite picturesque". Originally priced at 15 shillings when first published, and lacking any true fluidity, this simple picture toy reminds one of the smooth movements of the fading in and out from scene to scene in a film.Myriorama originally meant a set of illustrated cards which 19th century children could arrange and re-arrange, forming different pictures. Later in the century the name was also applied to shows using a sequence of impressive visual effects to entertain and inform an audience. The word myriorama was invented to mean a myriad of pictures, following the model of panorama, diorama, cosmorama and other novelties. These were all part of a wider interest in viewing landscape as panorama, and in new ways of presenting "spectacular" scenes. The early myrioramas were cards with people, buildings, and other images on compatible backgrounds, and could be laid out in any order, allowing a child to create a variety of imaginary landscapes. Jean-Pierre Brès, a French children's writer, published an early version which he described as a polyoptic picture (tableau polyoptique) in the early 19th century, and John Clark of London took up the idea and designed a set of cards he called a myriorama. Clark's "second series" myriorama, an "Italian landscape", was produced in 1824, the same year as a similar set of English cards called a panoramacopia created by drawing teacher T.T.Dales. Reproductions of cards from the period are on sale today with other "traditional toys". Various contemporary artists have used the idea as inspiration for work they have named myriorama. Later in the 19th century, the term "Myriorama" was used by the Poole Brothers to describe their popular moving panoramas; for a history of these, see the entry on Moving Panorama. (Compiled from various sources)
French comment : Myriorama - (du grec, dix mille et vue). Nom que l'on a donné à une sorte de tableau inventé à Paris par Brès et perfectionné à Londres par Clark. Il consiste en pièces mobiles au moyen desquelles on peut représenter une variété presque infinie de vues pittoresques ou autres en combinant ensemble plusieurs parties ou fragments exécutés sur des cartes séparées. (In "Dictionnaire de la conversation et de la lecture: inventaire raisonné des notions générales les plus indispensables à tous, Volume 13", Seconde édition sous la direction de M. W. Duckett, Paris : aux comptoirs de la Direction et chez Michel Lévy)
Urls : http://www.precinemahistory.net/1800.htm (last visited ) http://www.archive.org/stream/revueencyclopd20pari/revueencyclopd20pari_djvu.txt (last visited )

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