Spectacle of Illusion: Magic, the Paranormal and the Complicity of the Mind

I designed the book accompanying the major exhibition ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ on the psychology of magic at the Wellcome Collection.

Published by Thames & Hudson, authored by a professional magician-turned-experimental psychologist Dr Matthew L Tompkins, The Spectacle of Illusion investigates the arts of deception as practised and popularised by mesmerists, magicians and psychics since the early 18th century.

The design of the book is a modern take on the Victorian typography, line drawings, layout and colours; represents the eerie but playful atmosphere of the Victorian magic show leaflets, magic books and posters.

The book features double-exposure spirit photographs, photographs of spoon-bending from hitherto inaccessible archives, and also newly commissioned photography of planchettes, rapping boards, tilting tables, ectoplasm, automata and illusion boxes.

front cover

back cover

front cover detail

half title page

title page



chapter opener

text page

image page detail

image spread

image spread

chapter opener

end papers detail