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Henri Robin

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Henri Robin
BornHenri Joseph Donckele
July 11, 1811
Hazebrouck, France
DiedFebruary 24 , 1874 (age 62)
Paris, France

Henri Robin (1811-1874), born Henri Joseph Donckele in France, opened his "Salle Robin" theater in Paris in 1862 and became a major celebrity in France.


Robin played the Egyptian Hall, the first magician to do so, for 309 performances in 1862, just before returning to Paris to open his own theater, Theatre Robin.

Besides performing magic, he showed an "agioscope" which projected upon a screen the history of creation in forty five pictures. Robin also performed experiments in physics and chemistry and an exhibition of the ghost illusion (based on Pepper's Ghost) closed the entertainment.

Robin was a contemporary and rival of Robert-Houdin (who did not even mention Robin in his memoirs). One of their many disagreements was the performance of the inexhaustible bottle, each magician claiming to have created and exhibited it first.

When the Davenport Brothers came to Paris, Robin duplicated all their tricks at his theater.

About 1869, after operating his theater for seven years, he gave up magic and became the proprietor of a hotel.


  • Album des soirées de M. et Mme Robin (1846)
  • L'Almanack Illustré le Cagliostro: Histoire des Spectres Vivants et Impalpables (1864)
  • L'Almanack Illustré le Cagliostro: histoire de la science au théatre - L'astronomie populaire - Les spectres et les secrets de la physique amusante dévoilée par M. Robin (1865).


  • The Old and the New Magic by Henry Ridgely Evans (1906), Robin, page 162
  • Unmasking of Robert-Houdin by Harry Houdini (1908)
  • The Sphinx, Vol. 21, No. 8, October 1922, Sketches of Some Famous Conjurers, by Henry R. Evans, Robin, page 295
  • The Annals of Conjuring, by Sydney W. Clarke (1929, reprint 2001), Robin and Pepper's Ghost, page 235
  • The Sphinx, Vol. 50, No. 4, June 1951, Monsieur Robin, Famous French Magician, By Victor Farelli, page 135
  • L'Escamoteur, Issue 33, Mars-Avril 1952, ROBIN 1811-1874, page 501
  • Great Illusionists by Edwin A. Dawes (1979)
  • The New Tops, Vol. 27, No. 6, June 1987, Man of Magic by Robert Olson, page 42
  • The Linking Ring, Vol. 70, No. 5 May 1990, HENRI ROBIN, Expositor of Science and Magic, by Edwin A. Dawes, page 99
  • Henri Robin: Expositor of Science and Magic by Edwin A. Dawes (1990)
  • Bibliographie de la prestidigitation française (1994), ROBIN Henri (Henri Joseph Donckeie), page 486
  • Magic of Robert-Houdin An Artist's Life, Vol. 2 by Christian Fechner (2002)
  • Sagemüller's Lexikon, n.d. Robin Zauberkünstler, “R” part, page 28
  • Bio-bibliographisches Lexikon der Zauberkünstler Edition Volker Huber, April 2002, Donckele, Henri = Henri Robin, belg. Zauberkünstler (*12.07.1811 Harzebrouck, Belgien; †24.02.1875 Paris), page 96