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Influenced by the phantasmagoria shows of Paul de Philipsthal (17??–1828/9), the Belgian physicist, stage musician and painter Étienne-Gaspard Robert (1763–1837) would combine all of his skills into the most elaborate and convincing phantasmagoria illusion shows. A professor of physics specializing in optics, Robert developed a phantasmagoria show based around rear projection onto wax coated gauze, projecting actors in scripted scenes, and through the use of ventriloquism, creating a convincing impression of the appearance of ghosts. He also used smoke and mirrors to further disguise the mechanisms behind his performance. Performing his first show at the Pavillon de l'Echiquier on the 23rd January 1798, the audience was convinced that they had seen real ghosts, with many left terrified by the performance. By 1799 Robert was performing in the apt abandoned convent ‘Convent des Capucines’. The text is from an original handbill, while the illustration is an ofgraveconcern original.

Fantasmagorie. Etienne-Gaspard Robert. 1799

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