The Life and work of Philippe de Loutherbourg


Project Summary

Project Overview

Philippe de Loutherbourg was an eighteenth-century European artist, scientist, engineer and set-designer who pioneered revolutionary developments in the technology and culture of multimedia through the agency of ‘spectacles.’

These multi-sensory displays for entertainment and knowledge foreshadowed modern cinema and multimedia, and provide models for new ways of understanding and practicing history.

Project Details

Read about the recreation of de Loutherbourg’s ‘Eidophusikon’ show of 1786 – simultaneously a disaster movie, a newsreel, a multi-media re-enactment and an experiment with virtual reality (December 2005)


Australian Research Council Federation Fellowship 2003-2007

Selected Publications

Technomancer: Moving Pictures and Virtual Realities in the Age of Wonders (forthcoming)

“Spectres of Quackery: The Fragile Career of Philippe de Loutherbourg,” Cultural and Social History, Volume 3, Number 3, September 2006 , pp. 341-354

“Magic, Spectacle and the Art of de Loutherbourg’s Eidophusikon,” in Sensation and Sensibility, ed. Ann Bermingham (Yale University Press, 2005)

“Mystagogues of revolution: Cagliostro, Loutherbourg and Romantic London,” in Romantic Metropolis: The Urban Scene of British Culture, 1780-1840, ed. James Chandler and Kevin Gilmartin (Cambridge University Press, 2005)