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History of Close Up Magic

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Close Up Magic has changed over the years and some of the earliest recent histories may be told from the title of two Jean Hugard books, Sealed Mysteries of Pocket Magic (1930) and Close-up Magic for the Night Club Magician (1938) .1

Close-up magic was first recorded in history by Cillica, a Roman philosopher and writer. He observed sleight-of-hand magic in the open air markets of Ancient Rome. The trick he noted, made use of cups and balls, something still familiar to magicians to this day.2 Hieronymus Bosch depicted a magician working with a pick-pocket in his 1500's painting, "The Conjurer"2,3

The term itself is a relatively recent, not used until the 1920s. Prior to then it was sometimes called "Close-Quarters Magic." [citation?], while during the 1920'3-30's, Vest Pocket Magic was used (4). Then later parlor or salon magic.


1 Magic (Illusion) On Wikipedia, Types of Magic
2 BBC's History Of Magic - Close Up Magic Also On YouTube
3 Hieronymus Bosch's painting The Conjurer
(4) Linking Ring, Vol. 11, No. 7, September 1931. Article by S.B. Blodgett.