Image: 7 in. × 4 5/8 in. (17.8 × 11.8 cm)
Sheet: 16 × 13 in. (40.6 × 33 cm)
The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Fund, through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 2015
Not on view
This photographic advertisement from London’s Gallery of Mystery illuminates the intimate connection between trick photography and the golden age of stage magic at the turn of the twentieth century. It was made to promote a drawing-room magic show presented by Robert Ganthony, a British stage illusionist and later the author of Bunkum Entertainments: Being a Collection of Original Laughable Skits on Conjuring, Physiognomy, Juggling, Performing Fleas, Waxworms . . . Etc. (1922). At the poster’s center is a photograph purporting to illustrate the "gradual transformation of two living persons, Miss Florizel and Mr. Lowater, into one under bright gaslight in the haunted flat." Doubling—two figures merging into one, or a single figure appearing multiple times—was at the time an extremely popular motif in both theatrical magic and trick photography.
Inscription: Printed poster reads: "GALLERY OF MYSTERY // DEAN STREET OXFORD ST // and Shaftesbury Avenue // NOVEL & MYSTIC // DRAWING FROM ENTERTAINMENT // UNDER THE MANAGEMENT OF // MR. ROBERT GANTHONY // MIRTH MUSIC MYSTA // DAILY // 3 and 8 // PRICES 1 [shilling] TO 5 [shillings] // BOX OFFICE OPEN 11AM // A.B. COURT 46 POLAND ST. W.C."