Czech Republic - A Touch of Magic

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But they are cultivated by two different classes of men: some make them an object of pursuit, either in consequence of their situation, or through a desire to render themselves illustrious, by extending their limits; while others pursue them for mere amusement, or by a natural taste which inclines them to that branch of knowledge. It is for the latter class of mathematicians and philosophers that this work is chiefly intended; and yet, at the same time, we entertain a hope that some parts of it will prove interesting to the former.

Source: La Vie d’un artiste du XIXe siècle siècle: Souvenirs personels du célèbre prestidigitateur Robert-Houdin (Grammont, Belgium: Œuvre St-Charles, 1900), 6. 34 Following the exhibit, Robert-Houdin decided to try his hand at professional magic. He rented Science Meets Magic on Stage 23 space at the Palais-Royal on the rue de Valois and, in July 1845, embarked on a new adventure. Every night, he presented magic as a combination of dexterity and clever mechanics in his Soirées fantastiques de Robert-Houdin.

Amusing during his evenings. ” 27 But Robert-Houdin was not a fan of every conjurer he witnessed. He particularly disliked crude and bloody magic and was shocked by the violence of the successful Italian conjurer Giovanni Bartolomeo Bosco (1793–1862) who decapitated birds in an act that was not only bloody but also involved the actual death of a bird. )28 It was during those formative years that Robert-Houdin began to construct his own automata, the mechanical human and animal androids for which he would later become famous.

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