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ebay item

Postby CvdC » 02 Apr 2014, 22:32

Scrolling through the usual tat that now seems to have invaded ebay I came to this item:
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/VICTORIAN-Photographic-Print-PUNCH-AND-JUDY-Mr-J-Bland-LONDON-1897-/221207360209?pt=UK_art_prints_GL&hash=item3380fc72d1

This is this image:
Image

It is a page from a "disbound volume": The Queen's Empire- a Pictorial and Descriptive Record published in 1897 with a description below saying the show is being performed by Mr J. Bland of New Oxford Street.
The Queen’s Empire was published by Cassell in two volumes between 1897 and 1899 to mark the Diamond Jubilee of 1897.
A quick Google reveals this to be Joseph Bland (originally Giuseppe Bolasco) who had a magic shop at 478(now 35) New Oxford Street the 1850's until his death in 1898.
One of his customers for magic tricks was Professor Hoffman, a well known writer on the topic of Punch.

I had a look around the environs of New Oxford Street (using Google maps) and found that the above photo was taken on a corner in Red Lion Square. Not Trinity Square as I was previously led to believe.

Image

http://www.speckinspace.com/historicpitches/index.html
It has been my experience that I am always true from my point of view, and am often wrong from the point of view of my honest critics. I know that we are both right from our respective points of view. - Gandhi (Having a bob each way.)
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Re: ebay item

Postby Chris » 07 Apr 2014, 15:07

What did Hoffman write on Punch Chris?

By the way, I've got quite a bit of Joe Bland apparatus.
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Re: ebay item

Postby CvdC » 08 Apr 2014, 05:48

Chris Iw as relying on memory. The name was familiar.
But he is in the index of Speaight's book and in leach's Bibliography with " Drawing Room Amusements and Evening Party Entertainments". But mainly legerdemain was his field.
The question is: "was Bland performing Punch or did he just organise the show? It is situated near his shop. Did he duck out to do a show while leaving someone to look after the shop?
It has been my experience that I am always true from my point of view, and am often wrong from the point of view of my honest critics. I know that we are both right from our respective points of view. - Gandhi (Having a bob each way.)
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Re: ebay item

Postby Richard Coombs » 08 Apr 2014, 18:09

CvdC ...Thanks for sharing that split pic now / then,
Amazing work - I love how you put those together.

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Re: ebay item

Postby Chris » 08 Apr 2014, 18:26

I've read all of the Hoffman books, and collected many, but I couldn't recall him writing on Punch except perhaps in Every Boys Book of Sports and Pastimes where I think he describes how to make a swazzle. Certainly I didn't recognise him as "a well known writer on the topic of Punch". Rather was he probably the most significant writer on Conjuring in the English language. Houdini described him as “the Brightest Star in the Firmament of Magical Literature.” He wrote dozens of books and scores of magazine articles under the pen-name of Professor Hoffman, his real name was Angelo John Lewis and he was, by profession, a barrister. Angelo Lewis was born in London on July 23, 1839. He first became interested in magic, aged ten, when he witnessed the performance of Professor James Taylor. (It was the custom of magicians in those days to refer to themselves as “Professor” just as some years later Punch men claimed it as their "tradition"). Professor Hoffmann’s classic first book, Modern Magic published in 1876, remains a cornerstone of the conjurer’s art.
As for Bland, well I have collected some of his magical apparatus. He specialised in painted tinware. I am not aware of a Punch connection but there may well have been. Geoff may know. It is of course quite possible since conjurers of the period often also were skilled in kindred arts and Ventriloquism, Chapeaugraphy and Punch & Judy were the most popular. Sadly this is not so common these days since most magi appear to limit their versatility to balloon modelling.
The first Punch Show I ever witnessed, and therefore probably the most influential, was performed as an interlude in an evening of magic presented by a Yorkshire conjurer Ernest Ratford who performed as "Mr. E". In addition to being a very competant magician he could also lead community singing accompanying himself on the accordion. On this occasion he also performed Punch and Judy, kneeling, or sitting perhaps, from behind an upright piano. The top of this was the playboard and was draped, I recall, with a Union Jack. Well we had just won the war!
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Re: ebay item

Postby CvdC » 09 Apr 2014, 04:16

Yes that was a nit worth picking. "Well known writer on Punch" may have been overstating it.
But I haven't read " Drawing Room Amusements and Evening Party Entertainments" so i don't know how far he goes into Punch. I guess his contribution To the art of swazzling may count tosome extent.
I was thinking he had written something in my copy of Every Boy's Annual from 1873 but I now find he deals mainly with magic and it was another writer who did the Punch piece.
But there is link nevertheless. Also Bland sold punch puppets in his amazing shop.
It has been my experience that I am always true from my point of view, and am often wrong from the point of view of my honest critics. I know that we are both right from our respective points of view. - Gandhi (Having a bob each way.)
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Re: ebay item

Postby Chris » 09 Apr 2014, 16:22

Actually he didn't contribute much to the art of swazzling - he couldn't swazzle!
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