The Ephemeral Archive: A magic lantern performance

A man stands in a darkened room in front of a bright white spotlight on the back wall
Lunchtime Lecture Series 2022–23

The Ephemeral Archive

A magic lantern performance

A gold horizontal flourish

 Thursday 13 April 2023


 At the Weston Library

  Free and all welcome, booking required

This event is now fully booked.

About this event

Photography was invented in the early nineteenth century. It brought the power to capture and store the images of life on a metal plate or a little scrap of paper; but it was only one of many new media technologies.

The magic lantern, thaumotrope, steam-powered printing press, peepshow, diorama, stereoscope, myriorama (and more) all coexisted with the new chemical technology. But what were these things? What did they do? Why do they have such daft names?

Curator Phillip Roberts takes us through the history of media machines, told with a real magic lantern. Life has been transcribed, and narrated, and photographed and deposited in archives; but what was forgotten?


Dr Phillip Roberts is the Bern and Ronny Schwartz Curator of Photography at the Bodleian Libraries.

 Booking information

The event is free and open to all but booking is required. When you have booked your place, the ticketing system will send you an automated confirmation.

Friends of the Bodleian

This talk is supported by the Friends of the Bodleian. To enjoy closer access to the Bodleian, including exclusive events and priority access to online content, join the Friends today.

For more information email


Sir Victor Blank Lecture Theatre, Weston Library, Broad Street, Oxford, OX1 3BG

 Wheelchair access

The Weston Library is wheelchair-accessible.

Other events you might be interested in

A gold horizontal flourish