|Following the tradition of baroque theatre architecture, small-sized theatres emerged during the first half of the 18th century. These theatres were not only intended for private use but also publicly exhibited at fairs up to the middle of the 19th century. The Engelbrecht brothers, whose paper-box theatres are newly presented here, were extremely successful with their "illuminated painting and cut-out pictures" which they jointly produced in their publishing firm between 1712 and 1735. Technically simplified, copperplate engravings were coloured and cut out by hand, frequently embellished with fabric or metal applications, and mounted into wooden boxes. Their purpose was to give an impression of the splendour of baroque theatres to those people that were excluded from visiting the great theatres. This may explain the immense popularity of such paper-box theatres, which may give pleasure to a kind public even nowadays.
Paper-box theatre "Paradise"
Although the paper-box theatres presented here are titled "Krippen" (nativity scenes), they cover a wide range of scenes from the Old and the New Testament and are, therefore, only partly restricted to Christmas topics.