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Colonel Stodare

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Colonel Stodare

From Stanyon Magic, Sept. 1901
BornJoseph Stoddart
June 28, 1831
Great Salkeld in Cumberland, England
DiedOctober 22, 1866 (age 35)
Resting placeHighgate Cemetary, London

Colonel Stodare (1831-1866), born Joseph Stoddart in England, was a ventriloquist and magician who entertained the Royal family at Windsor.

Confusion with his brother Alfred

Much misinformation still exists in the early and later literature (including auction catalogs) because of confusion with his brother Alfred Stoddart (1840-1893), who initially had performed as Alfred Inglis (English) and, after working as stage manager for his brother Colonel Joseph at the Egyptian Hall in 1865-66, a few months before his brother's death adopted the name of Alfred Stodare and performed his brother's illusions, causing an irreparable rift between them.

The confusion between them was further compounded by their similarity in appearance (see E.A. Dawes, 1998; 2010).


Stodare used the title "Colonel" to suggest an adventurer or explorer of foreign mysteries. Some references also list him as being born Jack Inglis in Scotland and Alfred English.

Stoddart went to London in 1865, working in opposition to John Henry Anderson. He first appeared at the Egyptian Hall, under the name Colonel Stodare, on Easter Monday, April 17, 1865.

On October 16, 1865, on Stodare's 200th appearance at the Egyptian Hall, he presented for the first time his Sphinx Illusion, invented by Thomas Tobin.

He died at the height of his success of tuberculosis after suffering a fatal hemorrhage of the lungs. His brother, Alfred, continued on with his show, as well as his widow as "Madame Stodare", with the assistance of Firbank Burman (one of Stodare's pupils), and G. W. Jester (a ventriloquist).


"The conjurer demonstrates that things are not always what they seem. Therein lies his philosophy." -- Colonel Stodare

Inventions and featured illusions

  • Stodare Egg - a hollow egg used in vanish or production of a silk. Alexander Herrmann called the "Kling Klang" trick.
  • The Indian Basket, using the Tip-Over Trunk principle
  • Sphinx Illusion


  • Handbook of Magic (1862)
  • The New Handy Book of Magic (1865)
  • The Art of Magic (1865)
  • Stodare's Fly Notes was serialized in Routledge's Magazine for Boys from January to July 1866 (no article in April). See the blog The Armchair Bibliographer.
  • Hindu Basket (1866)
  • Stodare's Fly Notes: or, conjuring made easy (1867)
  • Routledge's Every Boy's Annual By Edmund Routledge included Stodare's Fly Notes as a chapter (1867)