Friday, October 14, 2016

Mt. Vernon and more

The mansion and a haha wall. The haha walls were installed to keep farm animals from wandering into the lawns and gardens surrounding the house. The Washingtons went to great lengths to keep their views pristine. The haha wall got its name because you can't see them until you're right on top of them...then you say "aha" which gradually morphed in to haha.

Later in the day we joined our good friend Tom for dinner at an old favorite restaurant, The Peking Gourmet. 
We started with a Peking duck which is the best here of anywhere. In addition we had a plate of orange beef and a simple dish of shrimp sautéed with greens. The restaurant owns a farm where they grow their own onions and leeks.


After which we went to Tom's house.

Tom has been collecting Chinese antiques for years.

His current interest is in glass lantern slides. He purchased a box of old slides somewhere and had them for years. Recently he decided to go through them and found eighty of them were glass lantern slides made by a Japanese photographer at the turn of the century. Tom has been researching their history and has done a lot of work photographing the images and enlarging them. They were colorized by the photographer's wife and many of them are beautiful.

Lantern Slides: A Brief History (from the Syracuse University Arhive)
A lantern slide is a glass transparency that is viewed through a slide projector that casts the image on a wall or other surface. Centuries before the invention of photography, painted images on glass were projected for entertainment. In the 1840s, William and Frederick Langenheim, daguerreotypists in Philadelphia, first used a glass plate negative to print onto another sheet of glass, thus creating a transparent positive image that could be projected. Well into the 20th century, lantern slide projectors displayed photographic images for entertainment as well as education. Lantern slides were not difficult to produce in mass quantities and were therefore easily made available commercially.
Usually a lantern slide was created by placing a dry plate negative directly on light-sensitive glass, which, after it dried, was fitted with a cover glass and mat and sealed with tape. Sometimes a slide was hand-colored with special inks before it was covered. The lantern slide could be viewed through a projector with a light source that changed over time--oil lamp, limelight, carbon arc lamp, and then electric light.

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