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[Original Art]

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Accession Number: 1949.22.26

Entitled: Site of Castle Fotheringay

Physical Description: Hand painted glass lanternslide in a handmade rectangular wood frame. Window is an oblong circular shape. Image depicts a steepled white building, a bridge over water, a cow standing next to a tree, and a small person and canoe in the foreground. Above and below the window is a title handwritten in pencil. Evidence of a knot in the top right corner of the frame. Glass is octagonal, set into cutout space in the back of the wood. Glass held in place with three metal glazing points. One nail in the left side base of frame.

History of Object: Lanternslide painted by Samuel James Reader of Indianola, Kansas, and given to the donor by daughter Elizabeth Reader. Samuel Reader moved to Kansas in 1855 when he was 19 years old and lived in Indianola, a town north of Topeka, until his death in 1914. Primarily a farmer, he also was a Civil War soldier, artist, trustee for the township and Rochester Cemetery, and built two of his own houses. Reader kept a diary with nearly daily entries from age 13 until July 22, 1913. This diary makes up fifteen volumes. According to diary entries, Reader began making lanternslides on January 12, 1866. He created his first magic lantern out of a nail keg with a spyglass, but the image was very blurry. After a few months he tried to convince his aunt Eliza of the need to purchase a proper magic lantern, arguing that he saved money by not purchasing alcohol or tobacco. On June 30th, 1866, Reader received by mail order a magic lantern tube and chromotrope (the latter gave the appearance of a kaleidoscope when a lever was moved up and down.) Reader continued to purchase new and improved magic lantern equipment for many years. According to a letter from his daughter, Elizabeth Reader (dated December 1, 1942), their house was crowded with neighbors watching lanternslide shows on winter evenings. She noted that her father also held shows at country schoolhouses and churches to raise money for the community. He used a pocketknife and saw to make the slides. Reader noted in his diary that he laid out the slides on the roof for the paint to dry. Regarding the subject of this lanternslide, Fotheringhay Castle was about 50 miles from Warwickshire, England, the birthplace of Reader's father, Francis Reader. The castle is known as the site of Mary Queen of Scots? execution, and was demolished in 1627. Samuel Reader studied French with a tutor when he was young and he was well read. His diaries are full of sketches depicting events in his life and images from books he had read. One of the latter was The History of England, which discusses Mary Queen of Scots and her execution at Fotheringay Castle.

Date: Between 1866 and 1913

Dimensions (in cm): 9.50 (H) 15.80 (W) 1.10 (D)

Marks/Inscriptions: [Handwritten at top of wood frame] Site of Castle Fotheringay || [Handwritten at bottom of wood frame] Execution of Mary Q. of Scots ||

Index Terms

Associations and Subjects

    Origin, Place of: Shawnee County (Kan.)
    Origin, Place of: Topeka (Kan.)
    Individual: Reader, Samuel James, 1836-1914
    Origin, Place of: Indianola (Kan.)
    Use, Place of: Fotheringhay (England)

Creators and Contributors

    Reader, Samuel J.

Status: Cataloged

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