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, Printed handbill for Loutherbourg's  Eidophusikon

Loutherbourg’s Eidophusikon

At the Great Room, late COX’s Museum, Spring Gardens,
until further Notice, will be presented,
Grand representation of the most interesting Phœnomena of Nature, entitled

About twenty years since Monsieur de Loutherbourg meditated this elegant Spectacle: He con-
ceived, that by adding progressive Motion to accurate Resemblance, a Series of Incidents
might be produced, which should display, in the most lively Manner, those captivating Scenes
which inexhaustible Nature presents to our View at different periods, and in different parts
of the Globe; calling therefore, to the aid of his almost-magical Pencil, the combined Pow-
ers of Mechanism and accumulate Light, he has been enabled, with a bold hand, to trace
the most interesting Operations of Nature; effects, which in a less enlightened age, would
have been esteemed supernatural, and which, till now, had never been conceived to be with-
in the compass of the imitative Art.

The FIRST SCENE presents
And is designed to exhibit the gradual effects of Dawning Day. The sombre Tints, with
which the piece opens, are soon succeeded by faint Gleams of Light, which streak the Hori-
zon, and produces the effect of Twilight on the whole Scene; as the Day advances, the Sky
glows with a brighter Purple, and the mild Lustre of the Morn increasing, the Eye recogni-
zes with delight, a Profusion of striking and well-known Objects; overlooking the Park,
the Villages of Greenwich and Deptford, and the River Thames, with Vessels sailing; the
Cities of London and Westminster, with the Hills of Highgate and Hampstead, in the back
Ground, bound the Scene.

The SECOND SCENE represents
The Effects of the Setting Sun, -- The View near Naples:
At the Opening of the Scene, the Sun emits a Watery Ray, its Tints deepening as it de-
clines, the Clouds in the mean time undergoing a Variety of beautiful Changes, till at length
after the Sun is sunk beneath the Horizon, the whole scene subsides into the soft and sober
Twilight-grey of Evening.

The THIRD SCENE exhibits
In which the gradual Decrease, total Darkness, and returning Brightness of that Lumi-
nary are most naturally and beautifully represented; the gradual Motion and Time are
strictly observed, and the Light decreases and increases in just Proportion on the surrounding
Objects and Surface of the Sea.

The FOURTH SCENE exhibits
Nature under a more tremendous Aspect, the Curtain rising discovers
The agitated Sky and Waves predict an approaching Storm; as the dense Clouds as-
cend above the Horizon, the Picture becomes more and more obscure; faint Gleams of
Lightning and distant Murmering Thunder succeed and heighten the Interesting Scene,
which is presently wrapped in Total Darkness; at length the whole Hemisphere is momen-
tarily irradiated with vivid Flashes of Elemental Fire; these instantaneous Illuminations dis-
play the Ocean in a state of tumultuos Agitation; Ships are seen to pass in great Distress;
Is the final Incident of the Scene, which terminates amidst the Conflicts of contending

A View in the Mediterranean,
Which exhibits the contrasted Effects of
A Beacon on a distant Castle, faintly discovers a rocky Coast, the lashings of the Surge are dis-
tincly heard, as are the Gusts of Wind which rusle the surface of the Water; Light is per-
ceived to increase, and the Moon rises the humid Clouds fleeting before her; give full Scope to
their fluctuating Forms, and represent this beautiful Orb under a Variety of pleasing Aspects;
the Moon at length attains her Summit, and triumphing over the other Light, gains full pos-
sesion of the Scene.

In the SIXTH and LAST SCENE, the Genius of Monsieur de Loutherbourg rises to its grand
Climax, with the great Poet, Milton, for his Guide, disdaining all sublunary Scenes, he soars
into boundless Regions of Fancy, and presents, to the rapt and astonished Sense,
Which rises, illuminated with all the Grandeur bestowed by Milton; Serpents twine around
the doric Pillars, the intense and glowing red expressing the Effect of Fire upon Metal.
Hosts of Demons are then seen to rise, and the whole brightens into a Scene of magnificent
Horror; the Lightning exhibits all the varied Flashes of the natural Phœnomena, and the
Thunder includes every Vibration of Air and Shock of Element, which so often, in its
Protetype, strikes Terror and Admiration on the Mind.

Such are the Paintings which Monsieur de Loutherbourg has devised (at the Expence of Ten
Years successive Labour) for his moving Canvas, in the Representation of Nature; there
reigns a Harmony in all the Movements, which completes the Deception; there is no harsh,
abrupt, or hasty Transition; the Progressions are uniform, and have the Truth and Con-
stancy of the Operation which they Imitate.

*** Doors to be open at SEVEN o’Clock, and to begin precisely at Half-past SEVEN.
The Room will be Illuminated with Wax.

GEOGHEGAN, Printer, No. 3, KENT-STREET, Borough, Southwark.

Printed handbill for Loutherbourg's Eidophusikon

RA Collection: Archive

Archive context

Showing item 8 of 54 in this group

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Printed handbill for Loutherbourg's Eidophusikon





Extent & medium

1 piece

Historical Background

De Loutherbourg's Eidophusikon opened in Leicester Square the last day of February in 1781. It was described in the press as "MOVING PICTURES, representing PHENOMENA of NATURE." Comprised of a small stage no more that seven feet wide, four feet high, and eight feet deep, the original Eidophusikon presented a series of scenic illusions that were accompanied by appropriate sound effects and music by well known composers of the day. The success of the first season was followed by a second, which concluded with a scene that was to become the Eidophusikon's most memorable dramatic triumph. Based on a passage from Paradise Lost, the scene depicted Satan arraying his troops on the banks of the fiery lake, with the rising of Pandemonium. A drawing by Francis Burney of the Eidophusikon (British Museum) depicts the moment when Satan gathers his forces before the Palace of Pandemonium.

Content Description

To be held at the Great Room, late Cox's Museum, Spring Gardens, that and every evening until further notice: presenting M. de Loutherbourg's "grand representation of the most interesting phenomina of Nature", including pieces entitled A View from Greenwich Park, The Rocky Coast of Portland, A View in the Mediterranean and finally, A View of the Palace of Pandemonium.

Physical Characteristics


Associated Material