12225405268?profile=RESIZE_400xSpecial Auction Services is to offer a rare - most likely unqiue - four lens magic lantern designed and built c.1897 by David William Noakes (1859-1934). The lantern is accompanied by a two large groups of slides. The lantern and slides were passed to the vendors' grandfather and he and his son used the lantern before it disappeared from view. 

In a technical foreword to the catalogue entry Dr Richard Crabgle, writing in the Magic Lantern Society Journal (no. 30 / 2022)  describes the history of the lantern. He notes 'The lantern itself is in its original wooden carrying case, with additional boxes for lenses, illuminants and slides. For transport and storage, the enormous brass lens tubes are removed and carried separately; even so the lantern in its case is too large for a single person to move any distance. Two groups of slides accompany the lantern. The first group comprises around 1500 wood-framed slides, in sets corresponding to the lectures Noakes gave in the 1890s...The second group comprises approximately 5,000 3¼ inch slides, mainly photographic ‘views’ but including some transfer slides (Primus, Theobald etc.) of fairy tales and other entertainment subjects.'

12225404298?profile=RESIZE_930xAccompanying the lantern are a number of technical papers, lantern programmes and photographs showing Noakes' workshop including the qud lantern.

Crangle notes 'I suggest that the lantern was built in or soon after 1897, for D.W. Noakes’s own use in his lecturing engagements. That date, paradoxically, coincided with his retirement as an optical manufacturer: an 1897 trade press account says that was because he took on more work for the family’s hay merchant business after his father’s retirement. In 1897 Noakes was planning to set up a “miniature workshop” at his new home, “so that when any idea pertaining to lanterns occurs to him he will be able to practically carry it out in a manner worthy of a lantern enthusiast.” It’s tempting to see the Quad lantern as just such a personal project, perhaps realising a long-nurtured dream.'

The ‘Noakes Quad’ will be offered with the principal collection of approximately 1,500 mahogany-mounted 3¼i n sq and other Magic Lantern Slides directly related to David Noakes, with associated artefacts and ephemera, as Lot 41.

The secondary collection of approximately 5,000 3¼in sq Magic Lantern Slides, which appears to be from diverse sources - although some slides appear to mirror the titles and contents of the principal collection with some titles possibly in David Noakes’ hand - will be offered separately as Lot 42 to Lot 78. The online catalogue will be available shortly. See: https://www.specialauctionservices.com/Auction-Calendar/2023/Photographica-and-Cameras-Auction-(5)


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  • What a wonderful thing ~ and, with surviving intriguing comprehensive story to go with this four lens 'Noakes Quad' lantern? Should go to a museum preferably English and be operated occassionally at public events once again. 

    • Yes, let's hope. It's a fantastic display piece. 

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