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
contents
introduction
chapter opener
text page
image page detail
image spread
image spread
chapter opener
end papers detail