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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 Robin in his memoirs). One of the many things were at odds about was the performance of the inexhaustible bottle, each 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).