Les Animated Photos de David Devant (août 1898)

Jean-Claude SEGUIN

Depuis le mois d'août 1896, David Devant, le célèbre magicien, a organisé une entreprise afin de distribuer et présenter des films en Grande-Bretagne. Il compte, à partir du milieu de l'année 1897 sur plusieurs collaborateurs et trois équipes qui parcourent le pays. L'une d'elles va présenter des vues animées au Barnstaple Music Hall à la mi-août.

Those who have never seen the "animated photo" can scarcely realise the wonderful effects which this marvellous development of the photographic art makes possible. And the animated photo can be seen at its best at the entertainments which are being given this week in Barnstaple Music Hall. The series is that of Mr. David Devant, and its excellence may be judged from the fact that it has for some time been a leading attraction at the Egyptian Hall, London. It is a suberb collection. There are many humorous representations—a fight between miller and a chimney-sweep being a special favourite—while the spectator is given a living representation of many famous and historic scenes. For example, there are magnificent pictures of the funeral procession of the late Mr. Gladstone and of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee procession. Among the other representations the more popular include "A fire brigade call," "A Spanish bull fight," "Changing guard at St. James's palace," "the phantom ride " (a series of pictures representing a ride on the front train —a marvellous exhibition), and "The Albion disaster." Mr. Maurice Victor gives a very clever conjuring entertainment, and he is responsible for a display of hand-shadows which is most mirth-provoking and is alone worth the money charged for the whole entertainment. We would strongly advise those who have not seen the animated photos to patronise the entertainment; those who stay away will miss a real treat.

North Devon Journal, Barnstaple, 18 August 1898, 5.

S'il est bien fait référence à Devant, il est peu probable que ce soit lui qui présente le spectacle. Dans l'article, seul  apparaît le nom du magicien Maurice Victor qui fait bien partie de l'une des équipes. Les films présentés appartiennent, pour l'essentiel, au catalogue Paul. Nous ne savons pas précisément le nombre de spectacles donnés à Barnstaple, mais on imagine que les artistes ne restent qu'une petite semaine.