Conjuring has been a part of mankind throughout history. Thieves used slight of hand to steal money, whilst cult leaders frightened their followers into obedience with their magic. However, it was during the Victorian era when audiences were able to enjoy the magicians' craft, which had reached its pinnacle.
Robert-Houdin is widely considered the Father of Modern Magic. So convincing was his illusions, he was forced to reveal his secrets to the police, lest he be prosecuted for witchcraft! Watch Robert Houdin's Magic Orange Tree on YouTube, it is enchanting!
There have always been the curious who longed to see their future. The penetrating gaze of Bernardo the Seer divined wedded bliss for this young lass!
Magicians were often associated with the occult and they often used the dark imagery in their advertisements.
John Nevil Maskelyne and George Alfred Cooke began their career by debunking other magicians. They were so successful at it, they created their own magic show at London's Egyptian Hall. As a side note: Maskelyne invented the pay toilet. Now that's some magic!
Posters for magicians are delightful works of art in themselves, but it is the magic itself that is the most intriguing.