Art: Magic Boxes

On March 3, 1839 a Parisian peepshow known as a Diorama, in which panoramic tableaux were exhibited, burned down. In it gapers could view Edinburgh by moonlight, the Swiss Alps, St. Peter's in Rome and other romantic views set up and painted by its owner, M. Louis Daguerre. For several years Scenepainter Daguerre had been experimenting with photography, had invented a secret process for taking pictures on sensitized copper plates. Loss of the Diorama was the loss of Daguerre's income. He accepted an annuity of 4,000 francs ($800) from the French Government...

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