The baked mirror hoax

Found in Edmund Gosse’s 1894 edition of Hazlitt’s Conversations with James Northcote R.A. (Bentley, London  1894) this amusing prank. The name MynHeer might have been a warning… This would  have been well before the birth of photography – Hazlitt wrote the book in 1830. For more on the great Northcote (self portrait below) see  his Wikipedia page.




Northcote told an anecdote of Sir George Beaumont**, 

to show the credulity of mankind. When a young man 

lie put an advertisement in the papers, to say that a

Mynheer , just come over from Germany, had found out

 a method of taking a likeness much superior to any 

other by the person’s looking into a mirror and having 

the glass heated so as to bake the impression. He stated 

this wonderful artist to live at a perfumer’s shop in Bond 

Street, opposite to an hotel where he lodged, and amused 

himself the next day to see the numbers of people who 

flocked to have their likenesses taken in this surprising 

manner. At last he went over himself to ask for

Monsieur , and was driven out of the shop by the

perfumer in a rage, who said there was no Monsieur

nor Monsieur Devil lived there.

 **’Possibly Sir George Baker, the Devonshire physician, famous for his successful raid against the leaden vessels used for cider-mking’ (Edmund Gosse’s note)

2 thoughts on “The baked mirror hoax

  1. Roger

    Back again, I’m afraid!
    What makes you think it could be Sir Gorge Baker? Sir George Beaumont was an amateur artist and collector who lived at the same time as Northcote and the first man to give a painting to the National Gallery so he seems a reasonable candidate.

  2. Jot 101 Post author

    Gosse actually has him as Sir B— and then suggests in a note that it was Barker, possibly known for pranks, but as you say Beaumont is more likely.


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