Reconstructing the Regency – The Weymouth Cyclorama

As part of a series of classes I will be giving on Regency life, using objects rather just pictures, I am reconstructing various objects that are either very rare or only survive in pictures. One of the strangest is the Weymouth Cyclorama.

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In the collections at Weymouth Museum is a small cardboard box containing a roll of paper. The paper roll consists of a series of printed views of the Dorset coast, which have been stuck together on a linen backing to give a continuous picture of the coast from Portland Bill to Lulworth Cove as seen from the sea. From the steamships that are shown off Weymouth, I would date the roll to about 1825-30. It must have been part of a very expensive tourist souvenir.

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The box lid describes it as a Cycloramique View of Weymouth Bay, and incudes a drawing of the viewer. Clearly it was intended to turn the roll so the pictures moved in front of the viewer as though they were passing along the coast.
I naturally wanted to reconstruct the viewer.

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From high quality scans of the cyclorama images I was able to print off all the images and mount them together in a single strip. Even at ten centimetres high the strip was nearly four metres long.

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Then it was necessary to reconstruct the turning mechanism, I had no idea of how the original worked, but after several sessions of trial and error I created this.

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The surrounding box both contains the winding mechanism and holds it at a suitable distance from the viewers eyes. An internal partition gives a suitable frame for the view.

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The box was finally decorated and, by tuning the knobs, you can experience a voyage along the Dorset coast as it would have been nearly two hundred years ago.

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6 Comments

Filed under Georgian, Historical Reconstructions, Picking Darcy's Pocket, Reconstructing the Regency, Regency

6 responses to “Reconstructing the Regency – The Weymouth Cyclorama

  1. What an amazing job you have done! It’s wonderful to see the past given new life like this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Autism Mom

    That’s amazing! Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fascinating. Love that you replicated the box. If you ever come to the US, you should visit the building size cyclorama at the Gettysburg National Military Park. As you move around it (instead of it moving), it tells the story of the battle fought there during the American Civil War. It is about 42 feet high and 377 feet in circumference.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Interesting to hear you have a full size cyclorama at Gettysburg, they were quite widespread in the nineteenth century showing things like major battles, cityscapes from balloons etc. Some people were so disorientated they passed out. Lighting and other special effects were widespread, they sound very impressive. It was the cinema that killed off the last of them.

    Like

  5. Brilliant. You should video it working and post that.

    Liked by 2 people

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