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For another performer who may have used the stage name "D'Alvini, see Max Rossner
BornWilliam Peppercorn
October 4, 1847
DiedJuly 3, 1891 (age 43)
Chicago, Illinois
Resting placeOakwoods Cemetery

D'Alvini (1847-1891), born William Peppercorn in England, was a magician and juggler. [1]


He was one of the first jugglers ever seen who combined sleight of hand tricks with feats of balancing and juggling. He toured with other magicians Ernesto Patrizio di Castiglione, Alexander Herrmann and Kellar.

A cousin of the celebrated clown Governelli, called himself by an Italian name, he made up like a Japanese, and was known as the "Jap of Japs". In 1847, he traveled and practiced in Japan and eventually began billing himself as Japanese.

Before going out on his own, he formed the "Tycoon Troupe" of several Japanese that toured in the United States and Europe.

He performed before Queen Victoria of England, Napoleon III of France, the Mikado of Japan, the Sultan of Turkey, Emperor William of Germany, and Czar Alexander of Russia.

He married Isabella English, who joined his troupe as "Madame Kara".

One of his feats was the "Fairy Fountain" in which he built a Japanese pagoda out of blocks of wood, resting the foundation on his chin. When the pagoda was finished a stream of water gushed out of it while still revolving. The climax was reached when in water turned into streams of ribbons. He also performed the "Magic Portfolio". After showing the portfolio empty, he placed it on an ordinary table and produced from it ladies' bonnets, shopping bags, bouquets, four large trunks, ducks, doves, canary birds in cages, rabbits, and, last but not least, a small boy.

D'Alvini died while on tour in Chicago, Illinois.

Part of H.J. Burlingame's Around the World with a Magician and a Juggler tells the story of D'Alvini.


  1. Jugglers and Juggling by Dr. Henry R. Evans, Linking Ring, February and March 1938