Wonder Workers and the Art of Illusion

A History of Magic through Art

by Bertie Pearce

Monday 22nd November 2021

From the beginning of time the fascination with magic and the impossible has been widespread. Egypt was the cradle of magic. Sorcerer Priests used scientific principles to create illusions for the edification of worship and to hold power over the people. Where there was power there was magic. Then there is the age-old skill of sleight of hand, which proves that ‘the hand is quicker than the eye’. Magicians were known as ‘Jongleurs’ lest they be sentenced to death for ‘witchraft and conjuration’ under the edicts of Henry VIII.

With the emergence of the Music Hall, Magic gained a new respectability and audiences flocked in their thousands to watch the extraordinary feats of The Great Illusionists. This gave birth to legendary tricks such as pulling a rabbit from a hat and sawing a lady in half. And if magicians guarded their secrets with their lives, how was the Magic Circle formed ? – Home to 10,000 secrets.

Even Today in our super technical age of ipods and broadband, the wonder and surprise of magic are as popular as ever, not forgetting the Harry Potter craze.

'Wonder Workers and the Art of Illusion' is a whistle stop tour of the history of mystery from 3000 BC to the 21st century and be careful! – you might be amazed and bewitched.

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Bertie Pearce has a BA (Hons) in Drama from Manchester University, and a Diploma Internationale from the École Internationale du Théatre, Jacques Lecoq. He's a member of the Inner Magic Circle, with a Gold Star. Bertie's past experience includes lecturing and performing on cruise ships, and to U3A, historical societies, festivals, schools and colleges. In addition, he has toured the world with a magic cabaret show and a one man show entitled All Aboard. He has written articles for newspapers and magazines on entertainment and theatre. He delighted us with his Zoom lecture earlier in the year.

Bertie Pearce
Blue Plaque
Magician