Monday, February 23, 2009

Evanion Collection, 19th C Ephemera Collection by Conjuror and Ventriloquist Henry Evans (1832?-1905)

Check out these wonderful posters, found on the livejournal Dark Victoria (found via Apuntes Críticos).

Here is what they have to tell us about the collection:
Evanion collection
Evanion collection: In 1895 the British Museum purchased a rich and fascinating collection of 19th century ephemera formed by Henry Evans (1832?-1905), a conjuror and ventriloquist, who performed under the stage name "Evanion". During the course of a long career, he took every opportunity to amass a large collection of material relating to Victorian entertainment and everyday life. Harry Houdini, who described the collection as "full of priceless treasures", later acquired many of the items relating to magic. These are now in the possession of the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin.
The British Library owns approximately 5,000 items from Evanion's collection. These fall into two main categories – popular entertainment, and everyday life - and include posters, advertisements, trade cards and catalogues.
This is just a selection of my favorite posters; visit Dark Victoria to see the entire collection. Really wonderful images of early spectacle! (Click on images to see larger versions!)


Derek C. F. Pegritz said...

Ah-HA! In light of the above images concerning the venerable Egyptian Hall and the theatre of mesmerism, you should really read Dan Simmons' latest novel, Drood, which concerns the last five years of Charles Dickens' life, the jealousy (and insanity) of Wilkie Collins, an Egyptian sorceror by the name of Drood, and the manipulation of the magnetic influence. It's one-third satire of mid-Victorian class bullshit, one-third literary criticism of Dickens' awful sentimentality*, and one-third bloodthirsty horror novel.

*Dickens was disgustingly sentimental, and some of his characters (like Esther Summerson in Bleak House simply cloying), but I still love his work.

Anonymous said...

You may want to check out some of these posters ...

Anonymous said...

Beautiful posters.

robobop said...

Thank you for posting these pictures - they are extremely inspiring.

Derek, that book sounds very interesting ... I'll give it a shot when I find it.

And Anonymous, that website is awesome! Thanks for sharing that.

jb said...

wonderful and informative pages- Thanks!.