This is neat, and I will discuss Durer, Vermeer and Kircher soon!

Echoes from the Vault

Back before the days of photography, society relied on the ‘artist’s impression’ to see people they would never meet or places they would never go. Artists used drawing aids such as mirrors, prisms, lenses, and camera obscuras (Latin for dark room, although strictly speaking the plural should be camerae obscurae) to fine-tune their craft. In 1808 William Wollaston invented and patented the camera lucida which became very popular, very quickly. The camera lucida (Latin for light room), is simply a brass stand with a prism and a few lenses.

The camera lucida is still being used today, albeit by a select few who can get their hands on one (see note below). While seeking inspiration for yet another blog, I happened to stumble upon (not literally of course) ‘Forty Etchings, from sketches made with the Camera Lucida, in North America, in 1827 and 1828’ by Captain Basil Hall…

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