Incident Outside Clovelly Cottage

1895 incident

montage des 3 fragments conservés


Incident Outside Clovelly Cottage


1 Birt Acres   
2 Birt Acres/Robert W. Paul Sydney Birt Acres. Annie Cash. Henry William Short.
3 02/1895  
4 Grande-Bretagne. Chipping Barnet. 19 Park Road. Clovelly Cottage.  



4 Incident Outside Clovelly Cottage: étude

Incident Outside Clovelly Cottage: étude

Jean-Claude SEGUIN

Le kinetoscope de Thomas A. Edison arrive en Grande-Bretagne vers le milieu de l'année 1894 grâce aux collaborateurs du génie de Menlo Park Maguire et Baucus. En outre, les Grecs Georgiades et Tragidis -qui ont acheté des exemplaires aux États-Unis- exploitent pour leur propre compte des appareils à Londres et à Paris. Il y aura aussi de nombreuses contrefaçons dont celles des frères Werner.

Contacté par les deux Grecs, Robert W. Paul apprend étonné qu'Edison n'a pas breveté, pour l'Europe, son kinetoscope :

My first contact with animated photography occurred by chance in connection with the business of manufacturing electrical and other scientific instruments which I had started in Hatton Garden in 1891. In 1894 I was introduced by my friend, H. W. Short, to two Greeks who had installed in a shop in Old Broad Street, E.C., six kinetoscopes, bought from Edison's agents in New York. At a charge of twopence per person per picture one looked through a lens at a continuously running film and saw an animated photograph lasting about half a minute. Boxing Cats, A Barber's Shop, A Shoeblack at Work were among the subjects, and the public interest was such that additional machines were urgently needed.Finding that no steps had been taken to patent the machine I was able to construct six before the end of that year. To supply the demand from travelling showmen and others, I made about sixty kinetoscopes in 1895, and in conjunction with business friends installed fifteen at the Exhibition at Earl 's Court, London, showing some of the first of our British films, including the Boat Race and Derby of 1895.

Proceedings of the British Kinematograph Society, nº 38, 3 février 1936, p. 2.

Finalement, pour son propre compte, Paul va produire quelques kinetoscopes contrefaits. Quelques mois plus tard, en collaboration avec Birt Acres, il met au point un appareil de prises de vues et va tourner ce qui est sans doute son premier film Incident Outside Clovelly Cottage. Cela se passe probablement en février ou mars 1895. En 1936, Paul évoque brièvement la vue :

I am able to show a bit of kinetoscope film taken during a trial of our first camera in February, 1895.

PAUL, 1936

Pour sa part Birt Acres, dans les notes marginales et manuscrites de son exemplaire de Moving Pictures de Frederick A. Talbot, ajoute:

This reproduction of a Kinetoscope film was taken by Birt Acres and is a view of the front entrance of his home, Clovelly Cottage. The figure in white is his paid assistant Henry W. Short, and was taken at the rate of 40 pictures per second, 2400 per min.

ajouté à Frederick A. Talbot, Living Pictures. Conservé au BFI.

En effet, ce premier essai réussi conduit Robert W. Paul à écrire à Thomas A. Edison pour lui proposer ses services. Et pour montrer qu'il est capable de tourner des vues avec son appareil, il joint au courrier quelques photogrammes:

paul robert 1895 03 29 edison paul robert 1895 03 29 edison 02
Robert W. Paul, À Thomas A. Edison, Londres, 29 mars 1895
(Reproduit dans BARNES, 1998: 23)

Dear Sir,
I have taken some interest in you Kinetoscope here, and have found that a demand existed for a greater variety of subjects that at present available. I have therefore commenced to manufacture films representing recent scenes and events here, and shall be pleased to hear from you if you think that our mutual interests would be served by an exchange of films.
I enclose for your inspection the f a small piece of the first film which I have made, thinking it might interest you although I expect to attain even better results with a little practice.
In case you decide to entertain this proposal I shall be pleased to co-operate with you in stopping sundry attempts now being made here to copy your films- which, I take it, is an offence against the international Copyright Act.
I am, Dear Sir,
Yours faithfully,
Robt. W. Paul.

Robert W. Paul, À Thomas A. Edison, Londres, 29 mars 1895
(Reproduit dans BARNES, 1998: 23).

À cette proposition de collaboration, Edison va répondre -le 16 avril- par la négative:

[I] have examined the sample of film you sent me... The original subjects, from which strips are made here, are taken for account of other parties, who bear all expenses in connection therewith.. I am not therefore in a position to make any such arrangement direct...
Thomas A. Edison, À Robert W. Paul, 16 avril 1895.
(Reproduit dans HENDRICKS, 1966: 133-134).

De ce film, il ne reste que quelques fragments.

1895 incidents 01 1895 incidents 02 1895 incidents 03

Fragment 1
transmis à Edison
US Department of the Iinterior. National Park Service. Edison Historic Site
BARNES, 1988: 22

Fragment 2
Frederick A. Talbot, Moving Pictures
Reproduit dans BARNES, 1988: 24
Fragment 3
Science Museum Group


BARNES John, The Beginnings of The Cinéma in England 1894-1901, vol. 1 1894-1896, Exeter, University of Exeter Press, 1976 [1988].

HENDRICKS Gorson, The Kinetoscope, New York, The Beginnings of the American Film, 1966, 182 p.

PAUL R. W., C.M. HEPWORTH et W.G. BARKER, "Before 1910: Kinematograph Experiences", Proceedings of the Brithish Kinematograph Society, nº 38, 3 février 1936.