Treasures of pre-cinema history
The magic lantern
Johann Friedrich & Johann Christian Wolfgang Rose, Nürnberg
Johann Friedrich Rose was born on June 4, 1751 as the son...
...of the pastor Johann Christoph Rose (* 1694; † October 13, 1763 in Entenberg) and his wife Barbara, a farmer's wife, in the village of Entenberg (municipality of Leinburg) 20 kilometer east of Nuremberg. His father took over the parish in 1739, after the death of his predecessor Johann Ulrich Mair, in the village and carried it out till his death. Johann Friedrich was born as the seventh-born child of the Roses. A total of ten children, seven girls and three boys, romped around in the living room of the rectory. Later on, Johann Friedrich's siblings found the centre of their lives in the surroundings of vicarages. An educated home with a small prosperity. The father instructed his children in languages and science and enabled the first-born son Johann Philipp Christoph to study at the University of Altdorf under the professors Johann Andreas Michael Nagel and Georg Andreas Will, the author of the "Nürnbergische Gelehrten-Lexicon".
Johann Friedrich deviated with his handicraft profession from the family tradition. It is uncertain when he apparently left his parents' house at an early age to be an apprentice to a master craftsman in Nuremberg. Maybe his brother Johann Philipp Christoph, who was eight years older than him, helped him to find a suitable apprenticeship, as he began his studies at the University of Altdorf in 1761. At the end of July 1769, Rose, who was only eighteen years old, hurriedly married Anna Christina Beck, the daughter of a bather from the village of Petersaurach, in the small town of Büg (municipality of Eckental). The marriage had become inevitable because Johann Friedrich had impregnated his future wife before marriage and therefore had to serve a prison sentence in the Nuremberg water tower, part of the city fortifications and used as a prison from 1400. During his imprisonment a "second" marriage took place, as the first marriage was made without the necessary permission of the Nuremberg authorities. With his wife he gave birth to a total of five sons and two daughters. The son Johann Christian Wolfgang was born in Nuremberg on 20 April 1769.
After the end of his journeyman's time, he probably founded his own workshop in the second half of the 1770s. His residence and at the same time the workshop was located in the Mittlere Kreuzgasse 1505 (later Obere Kreuzgasse 35) of Nuremberg. Johann Friedrich Rose died in Nuremberg on 30 November 1785 at the age of 34. He was described as an illuminist, painter and optician. His widow took the workshop over before her son Johann Christian Wolfgang was old enought to follow into the steps of his father. With the death of Johann Christian Wolfgang Rose at 24th December 1826, the workshop closed his doors.
For a master craftsman, the apprenticeship period varied between three and five years, followed by a journeyman's period of eight to ten years, including the usual travelling time of two to six years. In order to obtain the right to become a master craftsman, further years of apprenticeship with a Nuremberg master craftsman were necessary before he could receive the concession as master craftsman. Usually the apprenticeship started at an early adolescent age, therefore a candidate had to be around thirty years old to be accepted as master craftsman. In 1780, when Johann Friedrich Rose was in his late twenties, he was able to establish his own workshop. At the same time, the new founded philosophical toy shop of Peter Friedrich Catel in Berlin was looking for a supplier of optical toys, including the magic lantern. Rose's activities met Catel's requirements to enter into a successful business relationship with him. As an optician, Rose had an optical understanding and thus the best prerequisites for the production of toy lanterns and other optical machines (as the camera obscura). As a painter and illuminator Rose was able to supply the required glass paintings in an artistically appealing quality from one source. The parental home certainly played its part in ensuring that Rose did not submit to the inertia of the craftsmen and was open to new things. A collaboration between Catel and Rose was a natural fit and is highly likely.
Set from the very beginning of the Rose-workshop
A comparable set is in the collection of the Hessischen Landesmuseums Darmstadt (Inv.Nr.: Ph.C.58/90)
Johann Christian Wolfang Rose
Engraving from 1798