MAGIC 1400s – 1950s
Edited by Noel Daniel. Introduction by Ricky Jay. Essays and Captions by Mike Caveney and Jim Steinmeyer.
Published by Taschen
Hardcover in slipcase
25cm x 38cm, 544 pages
Multilingual Edition: English, French, German
Reviewed by Duncan Trillo/MagicWeek
This new edition of Magic 1400s - 1950s (just published, May 25th, 2013) is in a more manageable size than its predecessor (albeit still huge, measuring about 25cm x 38cm x 6cm), but equally as impressive.
Magic 1400s - 1950s delves deep into hidden archives, pulling out 850+ stunning posters, photographs, handbills, and engravings documenting an incredibly rich, vivid world where anything and everything seemingly became possible, from supernatural magic and death defying escapes, right up to the sleight of hand of Cardini, Pollock and Kaps.
Magic is first and foremost a visual medium, and it is here that a book as lavish as this can really shine. There are literally hundreds of full-page reproductions of early vintage theatrical posters and performers photos, both 'live' and studio, spread across over 500 pages, with concise commentary throughout from Mike Caveney and Jim Steinmeyer.
What instantly comes to mind is just how much magic of the past has impacted on the magic that we see today, with modern day performers such as David Blaine and Derren Brown clearly drawing inspiration from these past masters. Yet you also feel that a whole generation of 'pick a card' magicians, unaware of the incredible history of their art, are missing out... Years ago I remember wading through Tannen's and Abbott's catalogues in search of inspiration, how I would have loved a book like this.
The overall design and attention to detail is impressive and you know that Editor Noel Daniel and Mike Caveney and Jim Steinmeyer went above and beyond in order to produce such a beautiful book.
I know I'm gushing a little, but I can't help it; this is a sumptuous, majestic book that provides a rich history of magic in all its glory, in one very accessible tome.
Magic. 1400s–1950s. £44.99 (free shipping) available directly from the publisher: www.taschen.com
© Duncan Trillo/MagicWeek, June 2013