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Dr. Holden

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Dr. Holden
BornJohn Watkins Holden
February 1, 1844
Worcester, England
DiedNovember 25, 1917 (age 73)
Stoke Newington, in the East End of London, England

Dr. Holden (1844-1917), The Queen's Magician, was a professional magician for 40 years.


Holden took lessons from Prof. Hellis and in earlier days had called himself The Bohemian Magician. He gave his first appearance at Hope Hall in 1877 in Liverpool. In Magician Monthly, Volume 3, No. 5, page 55, April 1907 there is a brief bio.

He became known as "The Queen's Magician", because he gave a command performance for Queen Victoria at Balmoral Castle on Saturday, May 24, 1879, on her 60th birthday. He also appeared before the Prince and Princess of Wales, at the Crystal Palace in Sydenham, entertained Indian sultans and the Mikado of Japan, as well as kings and queens in such remote places as the Sandwich Islands.

Dr. Holden was able to continue to perform limited engagements until he was almost 70 years of age.[1][2]


  • A Wizard's Wanderings from China to Peru (1886)


  1. DR. HOLDEN by John Henry Grossman, Magicol No. 92, August 1989
  2. DR. JOHN WATKINS HOLDEN-A FOOTNOTE Edwin A. Dawes, Magicol No. 99, May 1991
  • The Magician Monthly, Vol. 3, No. 5. April 1907, An Appeal for Dr. J. Watkins Holden, page 55
  • The Magic Wand, Vol. 16, No. 131, May 1927, Conjurors of Yesterday and to-day, John Watkins…, page 199
  • The Annals of Conjuring, by Sydney W. Clarke (reprint 2001), Holden, page 345
  • M-U-M, Vol. 45, No. 11, April 1956, MAGIC BY THE QUEEN’S MAGICIAN, by John Henry Grossman, page 502
  • The Magic Circular, Vol. 97, No. 1045, August 2003, A Rich Cabinet of Magical Curiosities, by Edwin A. Dawes, 298 – Dr. John Watkins Holden: The Wandering Wizard, page 268
  • Bio-bibliographisches Lexikon der Zauberkünstler Edition Volker Huber, April 2002, Watkins, John = D. Holden, Engl. Zauberkünstler (*01.02.1844 Worcester), page 362