Lavater – The Shadow of History

June 30, 2013

One-hour performative lecture delivered in the person of JC Lavater, 18th century Swiss pastor and physiognomist who popularized the art of portrait silhouette through his influential writings


The noted physiognomist Johann Caspar Lavater (1741-1801) returns for one night only to reclaim his place at the centre of European culture, armed with magic lantern, silhouette apparatus and new revelations about photographic experiments in his Zürich cellar.

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Light Night, Leeds
Photo: Andy Paraskos


Silhouette chair, designed by Goethe & Lavater c.1775

Silhouette chair, designed by Goethe & Lavater c.1775










Alchemy tour, Harewood House











Originally devised for a conference on Victorian literature, this presentation was included in Alchemy, an ACE touring exhibition 2006-7 in which 12 contemporary artists explored the essence of photography (see Exhibitions).


The show involves magic lantern projection, audience participation, music, art history and photo-chemical demonstration.


Developed in participation with Alexandra Mathie, actor



Friends Meeting House, Burford, Oxfordshire, June 2013 (part of Burford Festival)

University of Westminster, November 2009 (part of lecture series Professor Pepper’s Ghost with Magic Lantern Society) with Sophie Khadr

Milton Theatre, Huddersfield, November 2009, with Yuki Kondo

Ferens Art Gallery, Hull, June 2008 (part of Humber Mouth Literature Festival)

Holy Trinity Church, Leeds, October 2007 (part of Light Night) with Angela Cairns and Dominic Ashton

Nottingham Trent University, October 2007 with Dominic Ashton

Djanogly Theatre, Lakeside Arts Centre, Nottingham, July 2007 with Alexandra Mathie

Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal, January 2007 with Michael White

Purdy Hicks Gallery, London, November 2006 with Alexandra Mathie

Harewood House, Leeds, July 2006 with Alexandra Mathie

The Romantic Spectacle conference, Roehampton University, July 2006

Victorians in the long view conference, University of Gloucestershire, August 2005

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