[from the Greek, ‘image of nature’]
A miniature theatre, without actors, intended as an ‘imitation of Natural Phenomena, represented by Moving Pictures’. The Eidophusikon depicted events such as sunrise and sunset, storms, running waters, and conflagrations. It was devised by the painter Philippe Jacques de Loutherbourg (1740–1812), who had extensive experience of theatre design, and was first performed in 1781 in his house in Lisle Street, London. The performances took place in an aperture approximately six feet wide, three feet high, and up to ten feet deep. There was often musical accompaniment. The Eidophusikon greatly impressed the painters Reynolds and Gainsborough and inspired the latter to devise his shadow box, constructed of movable glass plates, on which he painted landscapes and other subjects.