The Modern Conjurer and Drawing Room Entertainer - Charles Lang Neil 1903 - C. Arthur Pearson Ltd., London - First English Edition, first state, with ‘Neil’ spelled incorrectly on spine as ‘Niel’ ‘It is the quickness of hand that deceives the eye...’

‘This is a thorough manual for the conjurer’s art.’
– The Spectator

An excellent and uncommon copy of this important book on magic, and one of the earliest to use photographs to convey body language and hand movements for various sleights and tricks, with more than 500 photographic illustrations throughout. With explanations of illusions by leading magicians of the period, including John Nevil Maskelyne, Félician Trewey, Thomas Nelson Downs, Mademoiselle Patrice, and Paul Valadon, among others. First published in New York in 1902, but this, the first English edition has the added advantage of a detailed bibliography of conjuring books.

Considered to have one of the two best descriptions of the pass, the other was by S.W.E. Erdnase in ‘
The Expert at the Card Table’.

Features an introduction by English magician Charles Bertram, and chapters on card, coin, and parlour tricks, plate spinning, chapeaugraphy, paper folding, and shadowgraphy, together with an extensive bibliography of books on conjuring and a list of prices for the necessary ‘apparatus and requisites’ to perform the described tricks.
  Charles Lang Neil was a author, journalist, and publisher. Although never a performer of magic tricks, he was married to the skillful lady conjurer Mademoiselle Patrice, a former student and later assistant of magician Charles Bertram, and billed as the ‘Queen of Magic.’

Charles Bertram (1853-1907) was a British magician who appeared regularly at the Egyptian Hall in Piccadilly, and was a favourite performer of King Edward VII. Bertram withheld several touches of his Four Ace trick in
The Modern Conjurer, which were only described several decades later in Hugard and Braue’s Expert Card Technique.

References: Hass,
Performing Magic on the Western Stage 95. The New York Times November 22 1902, web archive. The Spectator November 15 1902, web archive. Dawes, Charles Bertram: The Court Conjurer 1997.

Octavo, pp. 414 [2-advertisements]. Original blue cloth, gilt titles to upper cover and spine. Advertisements for Hamley’s Grand Magical Saloons and Palace of Wonder at rear.

First UK edition, first printing with ‘Neil’ spelled incorrectly as ‘Niel’ to spine. First published in America by J.B. Lippincott in 1902.
  Condition: Near fine, lightly rubbed at extremities, minor offsetting to endpapers.   Ref: 107542   Price: HK$ 6,000