University of Westminster flag

Moving image 19th-century ‘toys’ – philosophical instruments for the drawing room, intended to promote intellectual discussion and provide amusement for adults as least as much as for children – come to life with this illustrated talk. Zoetropes, praxinoscopes, phenakistoscopes ... they didn’t believe in easy names in those days. Why was computer pioneer Charles Babbage furious about a simple cardboard toy?

Why do 13 monkeys need only 12 hats? Who was making cartoon movies before the first ‘live-action’ films?

In the 1860s–70s, a generation before ‘cinema’, Professor Pepper delighted audiences at the Royal Polytechnic with demonstrations of these new Victorian motion-picture marvels. With this talk, Stephen Herbert, who has had a lifelong fascination with the subject, explores its social, political, economic, aesthetic and perceptual aspects, demonstrating the effects and revealing new research.

Stephen Herbert is a Visiting Research Fellow, Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture, Kingston University London.

Download the entire programme here.