Magic lantern, panorama and moving picture shows in Ireland, 1786–1909

Kevin Rockett and Emer Rockett

Hardback €49.50
Catalogue Price: €55.00
ISBN: 978-1-84682-315-2
November 2011. 454pp; ills.

‘Richly researched, engaging … a picture of visual and optical entertainments in Ireland, ranging from the first phantasmagoria shows in the 1790s to the establishment of the first purpose-built cinemas. This book studies picture-going within the world of exhibitions, lectures, performances, demonstrations, fairs, conversaziones, bazaars and soirées … a valuable addition to the field', John Plunkett, Victorian Studies (Autumn 2013).

‘Most cinema enthusiasts with an interest in the history of film will be familiar with early optical experiments and direct forerunners of moving pictures … while their key role in contributing to the eventual development of moving pictures projected onto a screen is described in thorough detail in Kevin and Emer Rockett’s book, this volume further illuminates an intriguing myriad of often bewildering and lesser-known, technologically ambitious and intricate forms of early “animated pictures” … Interweaving key aspects such as technical innovations, creative showmanship, social history and economic dynamics, this book presents a fascinating, multi-faceted picture of early Irish “cinema” … This thoroughly researched volume offers an in-depth view of the early cinematic world of entertainment, combining a remarkable slice of amusement history with business enterprise, invention, censorship and politics. Its many, rarely-seen illustrations and numerous annotations paint a highly detailed picture of a scene that would eventually shape cinema as we know it today. Verdict: five stars – thorough, professionally presented key documentation …. Hard to find fault with this book', Marc Zimmermann, The Cinematograph (March 2012).

‘ … [An] encyclopaedic study … a monumental study … taken together [with Film Exhibition] these volumes constitute a portable archive, which scholars of Irish popular culture and the sociology of the everyday will find valuable', Keith Hopper, TLS (16 November 2012).

‘This is a superb book that makes a major scholarly contribution to magic lantern history … incredibly well documented … the notes go way beyond just citing sources to provide interesting digressions on all sorts of topics that did not fit conveniently into the text … There is a detailed and accurate index that makes finding topics very easy. The book as a whole provides a very readable narrative history of visual entertainment in Ireland from the 18th to the 20th century. The book is refreshingly free of academic jargon and should be accessible to any reader interested in these subjects … this is one of the most exciting scholarly books related to magic lanterns that I have read in some time, and it is one that should be in the library of every serious magic lantern scholar and collector', Editor, The Magic Lantern Gazette (Winter 2011).

‘It is undoubtedly a major event in Irish film studies when one of its most prominent scholars, Kevin Rockett, publishes a new book … Aiming to contribute to a more complete understanding of cinema in Ireland, this is a very welcome study of early popular visual culture that provides innumerable insights into its subject based on both substantial original research and a synthesis of existing work', Denis Condon, IHS (May 2012).