The Lantern Slide Collection
The Department of Art History and Theory lantern slide collection is an active teaching and research collection, containing more than 4000 lantern slides, glass plate negatives and stereograph cards. Lantern slides were used daily in classes held at the Canterbury College School of Art, the Department’s precursor. The School first purchased a magic lantern in 1894 and bought a final model in the early 1930s, which remained in use until the advent of 35mm slides in the 1950s.
Many of the slides came from the private collection of Samuel Hurst Seager, which he gifted to Canterbury College in 1928, along with his architectural library and stereograph collection. The collection contains many slides of standard works of Western art and architecture as well as ‘everyday’ scenes and scenic views. Some slides have been produced by slide manufacturers and a few were coloured by hand and by chromolithographic processes. One of the collection’s strengths is the high number of architectural subjects, including buildings and streetscapes that have been modified, or no longer survive.
Subjects covered in the lantern slide collection include:
- Māori taonga and material culture, toi (art) and architecture
- Late-nineteenth to early twentieth-century New Zealand scenic (e.g. Otira, geothermal sites) and urban subjects (e.g. Wanganui’s Sarjeant Art Gallery, Christchurch’s Cathedral Square)
- Houses designed by Samuel Hurst Seager in New Zealand (mostly in Canterbury)
- Reproduced drawings of buildings and views made by Seager while touring northern Europe in the 1880s
- Images relating to the English Arts and Crafts Movement, including houses, city beautifying projects, industrial design, and town planning and garden city developments
- Research of contemporary sculpture dating from the late 1920s to the mid-1930s
- Art galleries and museums, and some items in their collections
- Buildings, streetscapes, and views in Egypt, France, and Germany, dating from the 1880s to the 1910s
- English, French, Italian, Belgian, German, Spanish cities, cathedrals, churches, abbeys, monasteries, and palaces
- Works of art and architecture dating from ancient and early medieval periods in Egypt, Greece, Rome, Persia, Assyria and India
- Miscellaneous slides of art and architectural subjects in the Pacific, Central Asia, North America, and the Nordic countries