Catalogue Number: 2441
The camera obscura: a chronicle
Sub-Category: Hewett collection
Author: HAMMOND John H
Year Of Publication/Manufacture: 1981
Time Period: 1940 to 1999
Place Of Publication/Manufacture: Bristol, England
Publisher/Manufacturer: Adam Hilger Ltd
Description Of Item: Dark brown cloth covers, 190 x 250 mm, 182 pages including bibliography and index, frontispiece of a engraving created using a camera obscura, numerous black and white photographs and drawings. Slipped-in is a newspaper cutting from the The Age newspaper dated July 3 2014 of a review of the film Tim's Vermeer ,a documentary arguing that Vermeer used the camera obscura.
Historical Significance: The camera obscura (Latin; camera for "vaulted chamber/room", obscura for "dark", together "darkened chamber/room"; plural: camera obscuras or camerae obscurae) is an optical device that projects an image of its surroundings on a screen. It is used in drawing and for entertainment, and was one of the inventions that led to photography and the camera. The device consists of a box or room with a hole in one side. Light from an external scene passes through the hole and strikes a surface inside, where it is reproduced, rotated 180 degrees (thus upside-down), but with colour and perspective preserved. The image can be projected onto paper, and can then be traced to produce a highly accurate representation. The largest camera obscura in the world is on Constitution Hill in Aberystwyth, Wales. Using mirrors, as in the 18th-century overhead version (illustrated in the History section below), it is possible to project a right-side-up image. Another more portable type is a box with an angled mirror projecting onto tracing paper placed on the glass top, the image being upright as viewed from the back. It has its origin in ancient Greece.
How Acquired: Ex Nathan Library
Condition: Very good except for library stamps and stickers
Location: Nathan Library. Hewett collection