Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Camera Lucida

“A camera lucida is an optical device used as a drawing aid by artists... The camera lucida performs an optical superimposition of the subject being viewed upon the surface upon which the artist is drawing. The artist sees both scene and drawing surface simultaneously, as in a photographic double exposure. This allows the artist to duplicate key points of the scene on the drawing surface, thus aiding in the accurate rendering of perspective. At times, the artist can even trace the outlines of objects.”
– via wikipedia 

The following images are from the book, The Camera Lucida by John H Hammond and Jill Austin, (Adam Hilger, Bristol 1987).

The drawing on the left is inscribed with the text, “Dr Spurzheim the introudcer of Phrenology into England, traced from life with Graphic TElescope by Cornelius Varely 1815.” The drawing of the woman to the right is not dated but inscribed as “Drawn by C Varley with his Patent Graphic Telescope.”

“Varley’s Graphic Microscope. From The Magazine of Science and School of Arts, 1840"

“Wollaston’s camera lucida in use. This illustration was taken from the 1857 catalgue of Messrs Ross.”

Left: The Graphoscope (1960) / Right: Magic Art Copier (1980)

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