Advertising flyer for a Camera Obscura in our Collection

On the left is a portion of a flyer advertising the "Improved Camera Obscura, For the instruction of Youth in the Art of Drawing & Coloring." The illustration shows a young man with a box camera obscura on a table drawing a woman sitting in a chair.

The flyer appears to date from near 1819/1820. London Magazine from 1819 is quoted and it does not mention that Benjamin West, who died in 1820, is deceased.

As often happens in our camera obscura research, the reference to Benjamin West led us to stories about his discovery of a naturally occurring camera obscura as a child.

A larger scan of the entire flyer is posted.

The text reads:

By this Instrument, persons unacquainted with Drawing, are enabled to take an exact likeness of anything they desire. By these means Mr West, the Historical painter became possessed of his splendid talents. (see London Magazine 1819)

Direction for use.
Place on the Transparent Slate a piece of tracing or fine Bath paper, then present the Instrument to the object indented to be taken, when it will be reflected on the paper, then follow the lines with a pencil and you will have a correct likeness of the view desired, if a profile or portrait place the person in a strong light till you have a clear detail of the features then follow the directions before mentioned and you will have a correct representation of the original.

NB. If placed in a position so as to reflect objects in motion it will represent a beautiful panorama of animated nature.

61 Red Lion ** Cou***of (*not able to read)
Ray, Inventor & Manufacturer, Red Lion Passage, Holborn, London
Musical Boxes, Clock Work, and Automaton figures Repaired.

Magic Mirror of Life Home Page and Site Map

What is a camera obscura?

Why we created this site

Frequently Asked Questions about the Camera Obscura (please check this page before sending email questions)

Links and a Bibliography about the camera obscura

Map and illustrated diary of
our visits to
US camera obscuras

Map and illustrated diary of
our 1996 trip to
Great Britain camera obscuras

Images of camera obscuras from our collection.

Some Images from our collection
The Camera Obscura at War
Advertising flyer for a Camera Obscura < You are here
Trade Cards with Camera Obscuras
Lost UK Seaside Camera Obscuras
Other Lost UK Camera Obscuras
Lost US Seaside Camera Obscura
Lost US Park Camera Obscuras
Melville Garden Camera Obscura
Other Lost US Camera Obscuras
Lost European Camera Obscuras
No, it's not a camera obscura

Portable and box camera obscuras from our collection.
Wooden Camera Obscuras
Metal Camera Obscuras
Camera Obscuras with the Lens at the Top
Cardboard Camera Obscuras
A French Artist's Camera with supplies
Vermeer's Camera, a 1934 teaching camera
Camera Obscura Publications

Bright Bytes Studio Home Page (Jack and Beverly's Home Page)

Contact us at
Please read the Frequently Asked Questions before sending an e-mail.

© Bright Bytes Studio. Do not use images without permission.

Modified 6/2005