The Camera Lucida, designed in 1807 by Dr. William Wollaston, was an aid to drawing It was a reflecting prism which enabled artists to draw outlines in correct perspective. No darkroom was needed. The paper was laid flat on the drawing board, and the artist would look through a lens containing the prism, so that he could see both the paper and a faint image of the subject to be drawn. He would then fill in the image. However, as anyone who has tried using these will know only too well, that too required artistic skills, as Fox Talbot also discovered.
See also Camera Obscura.
© Robert Leggat, 1997.