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The Hand of the Artist (1906)


Photographic images are composed and brought to life on a whim, and then just as quickly transformed or reduced to immobility by the hand of the artist. After each animated sequence, the hand crumples the paper and disposes of it in a shower of confetti.

This silent English short was screened as part of the vaudeville-style performances of the Corrick family entertainers who toured Australia and the world between 1901 and 1914.

Curator’s notes

Walter R Booth, magician and stop-motion animation pioneer, began his career as one of the first British animators with The Hand of the Artist. Like the vengeful artist in later animated classics such as Duck Amuck (1953, Chuck Jones), Booth’s film features subjects that inhabit a world controlled by their mercurial creator. This is one of several films in the Corrick Collection that make use of the stop-motion technique, including titles such as How Jones Lost His Roll (Edison, 1905), Comedy Cartoons (Urban, 1907) and The Arrested Tricar (FAN, c1907).

The Corrick family entertainers toured Australia and the world in the early 1900s with a live variety show incorporating silent films, including The Hand of the Artist. This film runs for 191 feet 8 inches and was originally projected at 16 frames-per-second. There are no intertitles. The Hand of the Artist also features in My Bicycle Loves You, a show by physical theatre troupe Legs on the Wall for the 2011 Sydney and Perth Festivals.