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Newsletter - December 2013


December lecture and social event


After the usual delicious buffet provided by Gail Dicker – and a glass of mulled wine – we trooped into the auditorium to join other members who had not attended the supper; this was the first year we had arranged the event in this way so there was an excellent number of members present.

Bertie Pearce, our lecturer confessed his talk, The Art of Illusion, was an unusual subject; members did not know what to expect. It soon proved that he was a humorous guide to the subject. When a newspaper torn into small pieces before our eyes was seemingly miraculously restored to its complete state, we were amazed. Bertie’s talk gave us a brief outline of the history of ‘magic’ from the time of Babylon, through Greek and Roman civilisations to its heyday in the Victorian music halls, interspersed with ‘magic’ tricks that completely confounded us.

ConjurorMore modern magicians were mentioned: David Nixon and the inimitable Tommy Cooper, whom we all remember.

The well-known trick of the three cups and balls – in Bertie’s hands – suddenly morphed into a trick with an orange, a lemon and an onion – and the production of a melon out of his hat!

We did not (fortunately) have a demonstration of sawing a lady in half but we did see illustrations of this illusion and also learned the ancient Latin magic words “Eggo, Eggo, in the Baggo” which may well come in handy in the future.

We saw ropes cut and knotted and restored (with the help of the Countess of Norwich and her retainers), as performed to Queen Victoria. We were told of the projection of images using lime-light to produce ghostly effects and that Lewis Carroll adored magic. His title “Through the Looking Glass” may refer to the mirrors used by illusionists.

Our programme secretary, Naomi, assisted Bertie in demonstrating that torn tissue paper could produce a stylish paper hat and matching bag. She and the entire audience were equally astonished.

The evening was a very satisfying combination of information and entertainment. The audience had smiles on their faces throughout, and much laughter as well as surprise made this the ideal light-hearted Christmas lecture.

The Royal Society of British Artists

One of our members has let us know that The Royal Society of British Artists has set up a friends network and that is free to enrol. If any member is interested go to this link Friends of the RBA will be informed by email of exhibitions in the Mall Gallery, London and other galleries.