The Diary of Ralph Thoresby

Source: Ralph Thoresby, diary entry for 1 February 1709, in Rev. Joseph Hunter (ed.), The Diary of Ralph Thoresby (London: Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley, 1830), vol. II p. 41, reproduced on the Thoresby Society website,

Text: In return met with Mr. Milner at Mr. Blythman’s, where we dined; I afterwards called to see the Moving Picture, a curious piece of art: the landscape looks as an ordinary picture till the clock-work behind the curtain be set at work, and then the ships move and sail distinctly upon the sea till out of sight; a coach comes out of the town, the motion of the horses and wheels are very distinct, and a gentleman in the coach that salutes the company; a hunter also and his dogs, &c. keep their course till out of sight. I had some discourse with the German inventor of it, Mr. Jacobus Morian: see his paper and autograph. Evening, packing up papers and apparel.

Comments: Ralph Thoresby (1658-1725) was a British antiquarian, diarist and historian of Leeds. His diary entry refers to a mechanical picture driven by clockwork that was on display in London in 1709. A similar mechanical picture was witnessed by Jonathan Swift in 1713, and recorded in one of the letters in his Journal to Stella (qv).

Links: Transcription at Thoresby Society website
Copy at Internet Archive