The Eidophusikon

In the 1780's the painter and David Garrick's scenery designer, Jacques-Philippe de Loutherbourg, created a large scale miniature theatre called the Eidophusikon which allowed him to experiment in his attempt to create the perfect illusion of natural reality - scenes of sunrise, sunset, moonlight, storm and volcanoes in different parts of the world plus accompanying sound effects and music. The similarity of the Eidophusikon to Poulter's New Model Theatre has resulted in commissions for Mr. Poulter to recreate full size versions of de Loutherbourg's original design. The first reconstruction in 2004 was for the Altonaer Museum Hamburg's Wolkenbilder Exhibition (cloud pictures) at the Jenisch Haus, Hamburg. A full size theatre was built with Willi Botha and two scenes based on de Loutherbourg were created - sunrise to sunset over the Royal Naval College, Greenwich and a Mediterranean scene with lighthouse, moonlight, storm and shipwreck. Performances of these scenes can still be seen every weekend at the Altonaer Museum in Hamburg led by Donata Predic and her crew of three.

The second Eidophusikon of 2005 was for the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven Connecticut and Huntington Library California for their Gainsborough exhibition, 'Sensation & Sensibility'. Gainsborough was a great admirer of the Eidophusikon. This full size version was built in conjunction with Kevin Derkin and the technical department at Yale under Rick Johnson. The scene this time was 'Satan and the Creation of the Palace of Pandemonium in Hell', from Milton's 'Paradise Lost'.

In 2006 a third Eidophusikon, quarter size, was made by Robert Poulter for the Nouveau Musée Nationale de Monaco. Another Meditteranean scene with volcano, moonlight, storm and shipwreck was created and this Eidophusikon will form part of the museum's permanent collection.

A New Model Theatre show called 'Pandemonium', starring de Loutherbourg and Gainsborough in a double act, tells of de Loutherbourg's life and work within his own Eidophusikon and paintings. A model Eidophusikon showing the three scenes made for Germany and America is available for performance in the UK.

Eidophusikon for Altonaer Museum, Hamburg

Eidophusikon for Yale Center for British Art, Connecticut

Eidophusikon for Musée Nationale de Monaco

Fifth Eidophusikon for Uber Unterwelten exhibition at LWL Industrie Museum, Zeche Zollern, Dortmund


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