Diorama and the Dissolve Effect

Now the Diorama came after the Panorama in the 1820s. It was an invention of Monsieur Daguerre, the same man that a little later invented the daguerroetype- the first attempt at photography, fairly quickly supplanted by our own Fox Talbot living in Lacock Abbey. Now Daguerre and his fellow artist Bouton had the idea that they could paint these very large canvases similar to the Panorama but not as wide. And they would be on translucent canvas so that the light could be shone on the front and then, through a skylight up above, could be shone on the back and that gave us the effect, in cinema terms, of a dissolve. Now you'll see a plan of the Diorama building which still exists on the edge of Regents Park. And you'll see that they had two screens in the building and the audience sat in a semi-circular auditorium. And a man down below in the basement would turn a crank handle at the end of the first Diorama- say, ten minutes, with sound effects and music. And then, the place would go dark. They would hear themselves being wheeled around bodily and the lights would come up and they would face the second Diorama and have a similar entertainment. So it was a double bill if you like. 

Bill Douglas Cinema Museum
  1. Shadow Theatre
  2. Ombrascopes
  3. Paris Chat Noir
  4. Introduction to Panorama
  5. Diorama and the Dissolve Effect
  6. Protean Views
  7. Optical Toys
  8. Praxinoscope Theatre
  9. Magic Lanterns
  10. Edison and Dickson: Kinetoscope and Mutoscope
  11. Lumière Cinématographe
  12. Robert Paul: Moving Pictures
  13. Hepworth's Animated Photography