Exhibition: Muybridge's Revolver

12200923877?profile=originalOn October 17th 1874, Kingston born photographer Eadweard Muybridge shot dead the drama critic of The San Francisco Post, Harry Larkyns, with a single bullet from a Smith and Wesson No 2 revolver. A jury, convinced by lawyers under the patronage of railroad magnate Leland Stanford, acquitted him of “justifiable homicide” and Muybridge went on to photograph and publish his outstanding 1887 work “Animal Locomotion” in eleven volumes and 781 plates measuring 19 1/8 inches by 24 3/8, composed from over 20,000 gelatin dry plate individual glass negatives, printed as paper collotype photographs of men, women, children, horses, and other animals shot sequentially for the first time in stop motion and full photographic resolution.

Commissioned and organized by the University of Pennsylvania the work comprised: Vols. 1–2 Males (nude), Vols. 3–4 Females (nude), Vol. 5 Males (pelvic cloth), Vol 6 Females & Children (semi-nude and transparent drapery), Vol. 7 Males & Females (draped) & Miscellaneous Subjects, Vol 8 Abnormal Movements Males & Females (nude and semi-nude), Vol. 9 Horses, Vol. 10 Domestic Animals and Vol. 11 Wild Animals & Birds.

Muybridge’s plates were to be sold as full sets by subscription, in individual folders of an “Author’s Edition” of 20, and were also offered in a 100 – plate “Subscription” set where the buyer could choose plates from a prospectus. Copper collotype plates for the work were prepared by the Photo -Gravure Co. of New York City and the “Elephant Folio” books were printed by J.B. Lippincott of Philadelphia. Complete copies were sold for $500 unbound and $550 in leather. The attenuated version, bound in “full Russia leather” was priced at $100 plus + $1 per additional plate.

Only 47 complete sets of Animal Locomotion were ever completed on commission. Housed today in museums and libraries around the world, exhibited in galleries such as London’s Tate Britain, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, London’s Victoria & Albert, they have been described as ‘the eighth wonder of the world” for their analysis of human and animal movement in all its wonder and eccentricities.

“Muybridge’s Revolver” at London’s Horse Hospital (http://www.thehorsehospital.com/now/muybridge%e2%80%99s-revolver/) is a rare opportunity to re-examine Eadweard Muybridge’s “Animal Locomotion” in an “Author’s Edition” accompanied by a selection of projected animations taken from original plates, culminating on the 2nd October with a live performance finale installation to Muybridge’s moving images from sound archeologist Aleksander Kolkowski of the Recording Angels, accompanied by Marek Pytel’s film “Eadweard Muybridge” premiered in 2010 at the British Library. Also rare screenings of Thom Andersen’s “Eadweard Muybridge Zoopraxographer” (1974) on the 27th September, and a discussion evening on the 14th with renowned Muybridge and pre cinema chronophotographic specialist Stephen Herbert.

A selection of original “Animal Locomotion” plates on exhibition will be offered, framed, for purchase and a further 60 original plates, also framed, for sale by prospectus.


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