National Cinematography Collection
Started in 1913 with the gift of equipment from the British cinema pioneer Robert W Paul, the National Cinematography Collection now contains over 13,000 objects and artefacts.
It traces the pre-history and history of cinema, from optical toys and magic lanterns to today's converging motion picture and digital technologies. An important part of the Collection records the history of amateur film-making.
The Collection includes rare objects such as the Le Prince cameras, an Edison Kinetophone and material relating to the world's first colour movie process, Kinemacolor. There are prime examples of equipment from the Ealing, Elstree and Pinewood studios, drawings and artefacts from the Hammer Horror studio, and British, American and Bollywood film posters: though the collection focuses on British cinema, its scope is international.
We have star portraits and stills documenting the making of major films, animation drawings, even frame samples from most of the major film processes from 1895 to the present day.
Take a look at the galleries below to see a selection of items from the Collection. We're only able to display a small portion of our Collections online - if you'd like to see more, book one of our Collection Tours or find out how you can Visit the Collections.
Motion Picture Equipment
This set of objects covers cine cameras, lighting, sound and editing equipment and other technical devices used in the production of movies, whether professional or amateur.
Viewing and Projection
Professional and amateur equipment for showing moving pictures, and magic lanterns and slide projection equipment - lantern shows were the precursor of cinema entertainment.
Optical Toys & Home Viewers
19th century devices for viewing optical effects and animated drawings, the cards and strips designed to be used in them, plus home viewing devices.
Motion Picture Marketing
A range of material designed to market films to the industry and the public, and manufacturers' promotional material aimed at professional and amateur film-makers.
18th and 19th century slides including dissolving views, slipping slides and other 'moving' slides as well as narrative sets and unique large format slides made for the Royal Polytechnic Institution in London.
Articles and Fact Sheets
These downloadable resources are a useful source of information for anybody interested in extending their knowledge of subjects pertaining to the National Cinematography Collection.