Colour-printed backdrop card for Praxinoscope 'Decor No 2 Cirque'.
Invented by the French artist, Emile Reynaud (1844-1918) in 1877, the Praxinoscope is a simple scientific toy that makes still pictures come to life. It does not project light - it reflects it. The lamp is surrounded by a ring of pictures, showing an object at different stages of movement. The pictures face inwards, and opposite each one is a mirror. By turning a handle, the ring of pictures revolve and, if made to revolve fast enough, the separate reflections in each mirror appear to merge, giving the appearance of movement.