Exhibition: Staging Magic – The Story Behind The Illusion

This exhibition runs from Mon, 21st Jan 2019 to Sat, 15th Jun 2019. See all dates

This event runs over several days/weeks. Dates include:

This exhibition has finished.

Cost: Free of Charge

An exhibition that covers a long period in the history of magic, from the 16th to the early 20th century and features some of the most precious and exciting treasures of the collection.

Among the highlights are the first edition of Reginald Scot’s The Discoverie of Witchcraft (1584) for its chapter on ‘the art of juggling discovered’ which includes descriptions of the tricks of jugglers of the 16th century and the first edition Hocus Pocus Junior (1634), the first work dedicated to legerdemain in English to feature illustrations of its tricks.

The book was one of Price’s prize acquisitions and is referenced in a signed photograph Harry Houdini sent to Price, also on display. Innovation in magic is explored through the work of the great French magician of the 1840s Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin, including a playbill from his 1848 London tour.

From books produced for those learning magic are Parlour Magic (1838): an early book for children dedicated to sleight of hand and magical experiments and a pamphlet produced by Oxo to promote their products through basic magic tricks.

Ian has Visited - review here.

Contact and Booking Details

More information at this website.

No need to book tickets - just turn up on the day.


Senate House Library,

Senate House Malet Street,

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