Muybridge in Manchester

The very welcome access to searchable digital scans of millions of “new” pages of British Newspapers (with more being added all the time), has started to give new information on Muybridge’s whereabouts and activities. I have had an ongoing problem with establishing the dates of his Manchester lectures c.1890, mentioned by Hendricks but difficult to pin down. The originals of the relevant newspapers at Colindale were unavailable for conservation reasons, and a quick check of available microfilms proved a dead end. Too lazy to go to Manchester to check originals there, I’ve waited until the scans were available online.

The Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser includes an advertisement (22 January 1890) for his lecture given that evening at the Manchester Athenaeum, which was repeated at the Concert Hall, Peter-street, on February 21st., “before a large audience”.

On 4 March 1890 the Manchester Courier, page 8, notes the purchase of:
“….Mr. Muybridge’s instantaneous photographs of animals in motion. These will be of great use to artists and scientific investigators, and cannot be considered dearly bought for £105, as they consist no less than 780 plates and fill 11 folio volumes…”

On 15 December 1890, the same newspaper noted (page 7): CONVERSAZIONE AT OWENS COLLEGE. “Mr. Muybridge gave an exhibition of instantaneous photographs in the Council Chamber… “, and on 18th December there appeared a report, p.6, of a lecture the previous evening in the Town Hall, to “a crowded audience”.

And it’s here that things get interesting. My chronology includes a lecture at the Hotel de la Société de Geographie in Paris on 24 January 1891, reported in the San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin on February 28th. But then, the Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser for 19 February 1891, includes an advertisement for a lecture to be given in Manchester on the 27th.

So … if my transcriptions of the San Francisco Bulletin are correct (it’s not unknown for me make mistakes 😉 and it’s difficult to check this one at present), this means that Muybridge was lecturing in Manchester on 18 December 1890, popped over to Paris for a presentation on 24 January 1891, scuttled back to Manchester to give a talk on 27 February, before careering off to Berlin for talks in early March. No flying, and no Eurotunnel, either.

All of this will be checked out before being added to the Chronology.

The British Library newspapers search facility is free, with charges for seeing digital scans of the results.

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

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