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BornHenry Evans
circa 1832
Kennington, London, England
DiedJune 17, 1905 (age 72)
St. Thomas' Hospital, London

Evanion (c. 1832 - 1905), born Henry Evans in South London, was a society conjuror who presented a variety of tricks with humor.[1]


From an early age Evanion was interested in magic, perhaps inspired by the acts at the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens where his father ran a refreshment bar.

He started his professional career at the age of seventeen in Brighton as Mr. Evans, and continued to use the family name until 1857 when he emerged as Evan Ion, contracted to Evanion by the following year. This name was subsequently legally adopted by him.

His shows were an assortment of magical effects, illusions, juggling and ventriloquism presented rapidity with trick following trick.

Evanion performed before members of the Royal Family including Queen Victoria, the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) and Princess Alexandra. He exploited this in his publicity material using the title "Royal Conjuror" for the rest of his career.

He collected a variety of material relating to entertainment including posters, handbills, trade catalogs, tickets and advertisements. In 1895, the elderly and impoverished Henry Evans sold most of it (5000 items) to the British Museum and Harry Houdini.

Evanion died in poor circumstances and was too proud to seek assistance. Harry Houdini went to visit him two days prior to his death and immediately started a collection for him. The sum raised was a substantial one and part of this amount defrayed the burial expenses, while the balance was given to Mrs. Evanion. [2][3]


  1. Mahatma, Vol. 9, No. 1, Jul1905, Henry Evans Evanion, page 3
  2. http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/onlineex/evancoll/index.html
  3. http://portico.bl.uk/onlinegallery/onlineex/evancoll/t/014eva000000000u04441000.html
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  • The Sphinx, Vol. 48, No. 11, January 1950, Evanion, by J. B. Findlay, page 291
  • Goodliffe's Abracadabra, Vol. 18, No. 443, July 1954, Magic Panorama, by J. B. Findlay – Evanion, page 7
  • M-U-M, Vol. 67, No. 9, February 1978, Ask the Doctor, by Henry Grossman - Henry Evans Evanion, page 16
  • The Magic Circular, Vol. 88, No. 949, September 1994, A Rich Cabinet of Magical Curiosities, by Edwin A. Dawes - 205. Henry Evanion in Yorkshire, page 154
  • The Perennial Mystics, Vol. 18, No. 2, July 2005, Dazzled by Diamonds: Evanion and Houdini, by James Hagy, pages 1-24
  • Bio-bibliographisches Lexikon der Zauberkünstler Edition Volker Huber, April 2002, Evans, Henry = Henry Evanion; Evan Ion, engl. Zauberkünstler (*1832 Kennington, England; †17.06.1905), page 108
  • http://www.bl.uk/eblj/1987articles/pdf/article5.pdf
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