Seventy years ago, on the 8 June 1949, George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four was published here in London. Over the years, the imaginative dystopian world created by Orwell would have a huge influence on our language and become an important part of London’s literary history.
Spotlight on exhibitions, displays and events
In our current exhibition, Staging Magic - The Story Behind The Illusion, one of our themes is ‘Masters of Magic and Their Influence.’ Here you can see items relating to some of the great conjurors: John Henry Anderson and Jean-Eugene Robert-Houdin, who popularised magic as a theatrical art in the 19th century, female magicians Adelaide Herrmann and Mercedes Talma, and the masters of the American stage such as Howard Thurston and Harry Houdini.
Successfully performing a magical illusion demands a wide range of knowledge and skill. This includes an understanding of certain scientific principles and embracing the advances technology brings: magic, like science, is always changing but similarly many of its fundamental principles stay the same.
Happy International Women's Day! As part of the Staging Magic - The Story Behind The Illusion exhibition, staff have started a project to develop and diversify our magic collection, specifically focusing on female magicians and women practising magic, dedicating some funds from the 'staff collection development scheme' to acquire materials.
For me, it all began with discovering a 19th-century letter housed 3,500 miles from Senate House Library, while I was sat in the New York Public Library.