Saturday, 2 March 2019

Magic Exhibition … ideas here for the curious mind …




Just had to tell you all about this exhibition as I’m sure some of you in London could be majicked out to see it …

 
c/o from Staging
Magic Guide

Right let’s ask White Rabbit what this is all about … if we can get him out from under his hat to tell us about the resources, references available to entice us to pay a visit to be entranced …


University of London



… it came about from the donation of Harry Price’s Library of Magical Literature, correspondence, posters, prints etc to University of London’s Senate House Library …



A photo taken in 1922 by
William Hope showing
Price with a "spirit"



Harry Price (1881 – 1948), the psychic researcher, who might best be remembered for describing Borley Rectory as “the most haunted house in England” … as well as his infamous investigations of mediums, hauntings and other supernatural phenomena …




  it is free – now what could be better … Magic Rabbit is quite clever … he tells me he heads the colony or nest (as a collective of rabbits is known) … so Mr Rabbit has lots of very clever magic tricks … some of which he mentions below … Mr White Rabbit notes this blogger’s post today is rather rambly and odd …


Downloadable (see below)


… there’s a free downloadable exhibition guide (well worth looking at - see the site) … 48 pages on the history of the magicians, legerdemaine, charlatans, cabinets of inventions, wonders of wonders, conjurers … European ones, Chinese too … secrets, secrets, secrets – in case you want to have a look!


Lots of ideas for writers and wordsmiths … oh and so much more … books, magazines … amusing automatons ... lots of fun … for example:


Bartolomeo Bosco (1793 - 1863)
Tricks for the Trenches and Ward (1915) … for WW1 Nurses and Soldiers … providing light relief at that time of darkness …


Brilliant – Bartolomeo Bosco, an Italian magician, was wounded during the Battle of Borodino (1812) … he pretended to be dead … the looter searched his clothing, while Bosco picked the looter’s pocket!




Apparition - Milwaukee Sentinel (1933)
There’s an entry about an attempt to Analyse the Automaton Chess Player in 1821 …

So wordsmiths … grab your notebooks, writing implements of desire … and get those curious minds grappling round these ideas …


As set out in the copy of ‘Discovery of Witchcraft, Conjurors, Soothsayers …’ here’s the 1584 description … from ‘Find in a Library: …’:

"The discouerie of witchcraft :

-        vvherein the lewde dealing of witches and witchmongers is notablie detected,
-        the knauerie of coniurors,
-        the impietie of inchantors,
-        the follie of soothsaiers,
-        the impudent falshood of cousenors,
-        the infidelitie of atheists,
-        the pestilent practises of pythonists, et al …"


Simple scientific mysteries … a booklet on experiments illustrating chemical, physical and optical wonders (1891) …


Robert-Houdin Theatrical Museum, Blois
(it has a public display of dragons)

Also … Stage illusions … Parlour Magic … Mysteries … just plain majicke  Films such as ‘The Illusionist’ (2006) was clearly inspired by Robert-Houdin (1805 – 1871);




while “Hugo” (2011) features an automaton, re-enactments of Robert-Houdin’s illusions … Georges Méliès bought Theatre Robert-Houdin …  Méliès, who in time created the classic film ‘A Trip to the Moon’ (1924) …



Harry Houdini – took his stage name from his illustrious predecessor, Robert-Houdin, whose memoir inspired him … but ultimately he unmasked his hero to expose his ‘dishonesty’ …


I hope I’ve enticed you, or perhaps lured you with a tricke or twaine to take a look at the Exhibition’s website … and if you’re ‘local’ … perhaps visit … it looks a really fascinating exhibition … apart from a visit to the library high up in Senate House … you’ve got til 15 June … NB opening hours vary during term time …


Caravaggio's 'The Cardsharps' (1594)
The blog-curtain comes down on White Rabbit here … but wander across to visit a much better blog post about the Exhibition, as well as London University’s absolutely excellent ‘Staging Magic’ exhibition guide … so I shall wave my magic wand over 450 years of magical history and disappear …

Ian Visits Blog - details re the exhibition ...

The Staging Magic Exhibition full guide and details  including the fascinating downloadable guide ... perfect for wordsmiths and curious minds ... 


Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

59 comments:

Hels said...

Caravaggio's Cardsharps is an excellent painting that I have seen many times. And
your delicious painting, which I have not seen before, is in Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth. A painter of sharp practices :)

Jz said...

It had never, ever crossed my mind to think of wartime medical staff entertaining patients with magic, but what a terrific idea!

I'm sorry I can't make the exhibit but I'm off to visit the website now! :-)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Wish I could as it sounds fascinating. I can at least download the booklet though.

Sandra said...

Fascinating!

Joanne said...

the exhibit sounds magical. The word conjure is such a good one. Tricks and sleight of hand.
I've always loved that painting at the Kimbell - so rich.
Nifty post

Chatty Crone said...

Wish I could see it - very interesting.

Jacqui Murray said...

I used to love magic--wanted to be a magician. You brought back wonderful memories.

Botanist said...

Looks like a fascinating exhibition!

David Gascoigne said...

I don't think religious belief is much different from all of this! There is little doubt, however, that magical illusions have entertained people for ever. And come to think of it so has religion. I have a grandson (twelve years old) who is really into card tricks. And he is pretty good!

Out on the prairie said...

What a great exhibit to visit. I have always marveled at magic , I do a bit of sleight of hand for kids occasionally. Have a friend who sees spirits in her home she says. I slept over and thought a dog was at my feet. No dog.

John Holton said...

The movie The Illusionist was one of my favorites. The end was just amazing, the way Paul Giamatti ends up laughing at how things worked out. Wish I could see the museum.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Hels - thanks for the info re the Kimbell Art Museum - great to know where Caravaggio's work is hung - thanks for that. I love being able to post up art works from that era ...

@ Jz - so pleased you've dashed over to the site ... amazing ideas in the Guide - such fun to know what's been going on for 450 years ...

@ Alex - yes it's wonderful that the booklet is available to download ... and you're welcome to pop over!!

@ Sandra - thank you ...

@ Joanne - you're in the right place for the Kimbell Art Museum aren't you. There were some fabulous descriptions in the Guide ... nifty exhibition I say!!

@ Sandie - it looks like it'll be a great exhibition to visit ...

@ Jacqui - another side of you ... what an interesting ambition to have as a youngster. Delighted I brought back those memories for you ...

@ Ian - I'm sure it'll be fascinating - I'd love to go up to the Library and visit Senate House ...

@ David - I think you're right ... looks like it when one reads the Guide. My father tried a few magic tricks for us as kids ... but that's great to read about your grandson - bet he'd love to read this Guide. Religious belief and majicke have always seemed to go together ...

@ Steve - that's wonderful you're doing tricks for the kids ... it does make us marvel at things doesn't it. That sleep over sounds a little worrying ... I tend to put things behind me - but one does wonder ...

@ John - do you know I can't remember if I saw The Illusionist - I'd better look out for it ... especially re your comment about the end. Sad you can't get over ... but understand.

Thanks so much for your comments ... I think I'd better get up to see this Exhibition ... cheers for now - Hilary

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

That's a fabulous painting, isn't it? The use of light and shadows during that period is spectacular.

Have you ever seen Chin Lee perform magic? He was this year's "America's Got Talent" winner, and then he won the recent competition of "...Got Talent" champions from around the world. He is truly amazing. I don't know how to explain the things he does. (I'm pretty sure you could find some of his acts on Youtube.)

Take care. Cheers!

Rhodesia said...

I would love to see this exhibition, magic and illusions have always fascinated me. Houdini has always been of interest to me. as has David Copperfield. Too far to pop over and see it sadly. Hope all is well, Diane

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

Having recently been totally baffled by a nine-year-old cardsharp I'm sure I would be deceived by any kind of conjuring tricks. It must have been rather wonderful to have lived in a time when a simple double-exposure in the camera could have fooled so many people.

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

Oh my what an interesting post that I really liked, thank you so much for this post

dolorah said...

Oh hell yes you've lured me into a much more indepth look! I wish I was local and could spend a couple days at the exhibit. The Illusionist- and The Prestige - is one of my favorite movies; in fact you've just given me my dinner movie to watch. Thanks.

I don't don't want to know how a magician pulls off the illusion. I like the brief belief in true magic. A harmless trick of the mind is worth its weight in entertainment. And, that looter got exactly what he deserved, lol. Although, if the person is dead, who's to say it looting, and not just survival.

An awesome post and I will visit the site and download the guide. It will be awesome reading. Thanks Hilary :) Have an awesome week.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Susan - yes it is ... I'd love to see more of Caravaggio's work.

I haven't in recent years seen any type of magic shows ... though love the murder mysteries which use magic in their plot lines. I'll have to check out Chin Lee ... so thanks for pointing me in his direction - great that his act proved to be the winner.

@ Diane - it's sad you're not able to get over to see the exhibition - but understand. I've never got that drawn into this world ... but can definitely see what attracts - and from a historical point of view I'd like to visit this Exhibition.

@ John - you sound like me ... I'd be totally taken in! Amazing what people can do with sleight of hands etc. Yes - would we have realised the double exposure element of the camera ... I'm sure I'd have been taken in too ... though am glad I'm living in today's age!

@ Jo-Anne - so glad you enjoyed the information about the Magic Exhibition ...

@ Donna - I'm very unknowledgeable about films ... so thank you for pointing me (us) in the direction of The Prestige - what a great cast of actors. David Bowie as Nikola Tesla ... would definitely draw me in! Delighted you'll have watched or be watching something you've forgotten about, but that you'll enjoy.

I think I'm like you ... but it's interesting how we can be fooled and perhaps taken advantage of. Glad you picked up on Bosco at the Battle of Borodino ... love that snippet! I agree there - re getting booty from the dead, to keep oneself alive ...

That's wonderful to know you'll be over to get the Guide - it makes fascinating readying ...

Cheers to you all - it has dawned very gloomy and wet here, though I'm sure the south coast isn't as bad as elsewhere ... thanks for your visits - Hilary

Deborah Weber said...

Clever fun - what a delightful share Hilary. While I wish I could pop by (perhaps via a magician's hat) and see the exhibit myself, the online experience is great. I've always loved magic and am particularly enchanted by vintage posters with their bold graphics.

mail4rosey said...

It's amazing what talented people can do. I love the Cardsharps.
I had a nephew who was ENTHRALLED with magic. So much more than a childhood hobby, I thought, but alas I was wrong and he left his love for it behind when he became an adult. Too bad because I haven't seen him love anything so much since then (except his family, of course!).

Jacqui Murray said...

Delightful post. Houdini was nothing short of amazing. They tried to make a TV show out of him but for some reason, it didn't take off. I loved it.

Keith's Ramblings said...

I've just spent ages on the website! I downloaded the guide - my goodness it's long! It's certainly worth a visit. I was going to mention Chin Lee, but I see one of your other commentees beat me to it! I've just finished watching Talent Champion of Champions on Netflix. He is unbelievable - he even beat Susan Boyle in the final!

bazza said...

A magical post Hilary! The anecdote about Bartolomeo Bosco reminded of something in Les Miserables. It wasn’t in the stage musical or the film but it was in the recent BBC serialisation and, of course, the book. Thénardier, the unscrupulous innkeeper got his initial wealth by robbing corpses after the Battle of Waterloo. I don’t know if his pocket was picked!
CLICK HERE for Bazza’s enormously exultant
Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

Andrea Ostapovitch said...

That's a fun website! Would be a great exhibition to spend an afternoon with.

Have a great week ahead,
Andrea

diedre Knight said...

Fascinating! If it were at all possible I would surely attend events like these. The website is enticing, so I will enjoy vicariously ;-) I had to chuckle at the thought of being pick-pocketed while looting a dead pretender!

Dan said...

Interesting post. I wish I could see the exhibit.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Deborah - I guessed a few might be waving their magic wands hopefully ... but am so glad you'll be looking at the website. Graphic and text poster designers are so clever aren't they - love this White Rabbit one -

@ Rosey - oh - your nephew giving up his hobby ... such a pity - perhaps he can be enticed again by looking at the website for this exhibition. I 'm sure he'll find something wonderful to fulfil his life - he sounds innovative, and be passionate again ...

Excellent you've seen Caravaggio's work ...

@ Jacqui - Houdini has been part of our lives (almost) ... and does feature here - I hadn't known about Robert-Houdin, or the connection to Houdini ... so I was interested in that bit of history ...

@ Keith - well that's good ... great! The Guide is long - but it just had so much information in it ... and is fun to read ... I'll obviously have to look at the Chin Lee sensation ... talent competitions aren't things I look at ... briefly only at Susan Boyle!

@ Bazza - thankyou! I don't think I watched the Beeb's programme about Les Mis ... so missed the robbing of corpses - but know it went on - so thanks for relating it to Bosco's situation here ...

@ Andrea - wonderful you've popped over to have a look and yes it'd be a great exhibition to check out ... I hope to get up later on ...

@ Diedre - yes I'm looking forward to going up to check the Exhibition out - great you're going to enjoy the site vicariously ... well worth it. I know I'm afraid I had to chuckle too at Bosco deciding enough was enough and picking the robber's pockets ...

@ Dan - I'm looking forward to going up at some stage ...

Thanks everyone - so glad you're taking a look at the site ... so much info there - cheers and have good weeks - Hilary

Mark Koopmans said...

That 1922 picture is still a bit scary looking and I can't imagine the world in 1915 when someone decided a book was needed to liven up the trenches, if only for a moment. (Think it was a great idea, and hoped it did help some people!)

PS. Not a rambly post at all, Hilary! As always, it was interesting and full of stuff I had no previous clue about :)

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Fascinating! I'd love to go to this exhibit. I remember reading up on Houdini when I was a kid...my grandmother shared an interest in him, too, and we'd talk about his amazing illusions. :)

A Joyful Chaos said...

Interesting!

DMS said...

How fascinating. I wish I lived closer to visit in person- but the brochure/guide sounds fascinating too and I can look at it from home. :) Thanks for all the amazing and fantastical facts!
~Jess

Lisa said...

Makes me wish I was in London right now!

B Pradeep Nair said...

Absolutely amazing !!! :-)

Liz A. said...

Sigh. I would love to see the exhibition. But it's not quite worth the plane ticket...

Marja said...

That sounds very interesting and entertaining I would have loved to go there I was always intrigued by all sorts of magic. I learned a lot of new words like legerdemaine - skillful use of hands and automatons - a moving mechanical device --and many more

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Mark ... it is a little scary isn't it - but even 100 years ago ... things were 'so new'. I'm sure any light relief in the trenches must have helped alleviate the mind a little. Thanks re the 'non-rambliness' of the post ...

@ Elizabeth - Houdini certainly was the man we'd recognise from the past - our parents and grandparents. I'm just sorry you can't come over to visit ...

@ A Joyful Chaos - thank you ...

@ Jess - yes I was really pleased they'd put the Guide up for downloading ... so much interesting info can be extracted from it. Great to know you're enjoying the 450 years of history it mentions ...

@ Lisa - I know: I too wish I was slightly nearer London ... but at least I can get there ...

@ Pradeep - glad you enjoyed the details of the exhibition ...

@ Liz - sorry about that ... and agree probably not worth the plane ticket - unless 'majicke' prevailed! The Guide is great to look through ...

@ Marja - sorry you too are too far away to visit being 'down under'. Yes - I loved the vocabulary being used ... the old fashioned terms ...

Thanks so much for visiting and for your comments ... take care: enjoy your pancakes (Shrove Tuesday tradition for us) et al at the beginning of March ... cheers Hilary

Paula Kaye said...

How wonderful. It sounds fascinating!

Sherry Ellis said...

Sounds like a fascinating exhibition. Illusions have always intrigued me.

Sandra said...

That's hilarious about Bartolomeo Bosco and the pickpocket.
Thanks for sharing.

retirementreflections said...

I would love to see this exhibit. I will be in London at the end of May.....close, but not close enough!

Denise Covey said...

Hi Hilary...times like this I wish I lived in London, but I will check out the website instead. Thanks for the post!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Paula - it does look to be really informative about those days ...

@ Sherry - yes we seem to get hooked on illusions and magic as we're entertained when young ...

@ Sandra - yup: I loved Bartolomeo's storyline ... made me laugh too ...

@ Donna - it'll be on til mid June ... so time for you to visit - if schedules allow when you're over here ...

@ Denise - yes ... there's always lots going on in London or its surrounds - even I could do with being a bit nearer!

Thanks to you all ... magic always draws us in and so great to see you and hope that you'll be downloading the Guide ... cheers Hilary

T. Powell Coltrin said...

The picture of Hope with a spirit...whoa. It looks a little real to me, though. :) What a great exhibit.

Teresa

H.R. Sinclair, Southpaw said...

Awesome.
I love this stuff. I already have those sites open in new tabs. Oo, while I was in New England, I stayed at one the "most haunted hotels." I didn't see, hear, or feel and ghosts though.

Christine Rains said...

How wonderful that would be! Just a little peek at it here is magical. :) Hope you have a lovely week, Hilary.

C.D. Gallant-King said...

I refuse to believe that a magic exhibit in London has NO REFERENCE to Harry Potter. Around here the museums always shoehorn in pop-culture references to attract people, whether it makes sense or not (using the superhero Iron-Man to advertise the War Museum was particularly tone deaf).

All that said, this does look like a terrific exhibit...

cleemckenzie said...

I will absolutely explore this exhibition. Based on your post, it's chock full of exciting magic and arcane information. Have to see that!

Lynda R Young said...

If I were in London, I'd be there. I love that sort of thing.

Nilanjana Bose said...

I find automata from the bygone centuries absolutely fascinating. Ditto rambling posts...Some cool uses for magic you've highlighted! Pity I can't actually get to the exhibition...

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Teresa - the 'tricks' of the trade with poor lighting etc ... must have been quite daunting back 100 years ago ... so I agree with you ...

@ Holly - that's great you'll be looking through the two links - the Guide is especially good. Fascinating to stay in a haunted hotel - pity about not seeing, hearing or feeling any apparitional experience ... must have been interesting though ...

@ Christine - glad you enjoyed the look into the exhibition by being here and reading the post ...

@ CD - remember it's based on Harry Price's collection of Magical Memorabilia ... going back 450 years. Nothing to do with today - it's more a professional approach, than modern fantasy: however cleverly written they might be.

Which I hope explains why it's a more serious exhibition - they don't (I think) want to attract the masses ... just people who'd be fascinated and be more informed from the collection ... but am glad I think you realised this!

@ Lee - yes you definitely need to see the Guide - well worth the read ...

@ Lynda - it does look so interesting ...

@ Nila - I totally agree automata are fascinating to see, look at and admire ... Mark Twain on his visit to Paris in 1867 admired the Bowes Museum's Silver Swan ...

Thanks re the rambling post ... I'm glad everyone's been interested in having a look at the Guide and seeing more.

Thanks so much for your comments and I'm so pleased you've been looking at the Guide - cheers to everyone - Hilary

Patsy said...

That does sound interesting – which is why I should probably avoid it! I already have enough distractions from what I should be doing!

Sandra said...

Hope your day is filled with magic:)

Victoria Marie Lees said...

Truly fascinating information you have her, Hilary. I always learn something new. Now I'm the type who is too scared for haunted houses and horror movies. But magicians are really interesting. All the luck of the Irish to you, Hilary!

Empty Nest Insider said...

Hi Hilary, What a wonderful story about Bosco! I’ve always been mesmerized by Houdini and would enjoy learning more about him. Glad you got to spend time at this worthwhile exhibit.

Julie

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Patsy - I think it'd be fascinating to visit ... it's on til June.

@ Sandra - many thanks ... magical sunny day = delightful!

@ Victoria Marie - it just seemed such a fun exhibition that I had to write it up. Me too - I don't do horror ... but I'd be interested to see the history shown in the exhibits ...

@ Julie - I know Bosco ... one of those fun snippets of life in hardship times - take any advantage you can get ... Houdini seems to be the magician of our times. I hope to get up to see the exhibition ...

Have good weekends everyone - and Happy Women's Day ... cheers Hilary

Anniika said...

Hilary, an excellent post and since this is relatively close to me I'm sorely tempted! Absolutely fascinating - I'm hooked!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Annika - it does sound fascinating doesn't it ... it even featured on Radio 4 'Thought for the Day' yesterday or today! .... so I hope you can get down to see it ... and I hope to get up ... cheers and great to see you here - cheers Hilary

Lynda Dietz said...

I love the story about the guy who picked his looter's pocket! That's just clever.

The movie "The Illusionist" is one we own and I've watched a handful of times. I enjoy trying to piece everything together with the knowledge I gained during my initial watching of it, and yet it's still fascinating to me.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Lynda ... I couldn't resist putting that snippet into the post - just a delightful touch of humour - at what I'm sure wasn't a good time.

I obviously have to see The Illusionist ... I'd better make a plan ... and will remember your comment about trying to piece the puzzle together ...

Thanks so much - lovely to see you - cheers Hilary