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Conjurer's blow book, circa 1800.

Physical Description:
1 v. ([160] p.) : ill. ; 25 cm.
Rare Books and Manuscripts
GV1561 .C66 1800
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
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Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
Archives & Manuscripts
The back of the volume bears the ink stamp of Francesco Cuchetti. The stamp appears to be of a later date than the manuscript.
Bound in contemporary marbled wrappers.
For more information on the history of blow books, see: Jay, Ricky. The magic magic book : an inquiry into the venerable history & operation of the oldest trick conjuring volumes, designated 'blow books'... New York : Library Fellows of the Whitney Museum of American Art, 1994.
Conjurer's blow book, in manuscript, with eight different hand-drawn designs over facing pages (including one blank design), each repeated 10 times. The fore-edge of the present volume has five hidden tabs. By skillfully placing a finger precisely on one of these tabs, the conjurer may quickly riffle through the book so that it appears that the entire volume comprises just one of the eight designs. Traditionally, the conjurer then blows on the book, and, with a finger placed on a different tab, riffles through the book again, at which time the volume appears to be comprised of an entirely different reoccurring image.
One of the 'images' comprises poems from Lorenzo Pignotti's Favole e novelle (in Italian), first published in 1782. The lines of poetry are written on ruled lines, as for writing exercises. The remaining images comprise: a bearded man in vaguely Eastern costume, with large hat and red cloak; a winged and horned devil; a set of playing cards; the hirsute head of a man with unusually large ears; a pair of full-body skeletons; a musical score; and a pair of blank pages.
All drawings are in pen and black ink, with watercolor.
Subject Terms:
Cuchetti, Francesco.
Magic tricks -- Equipment and supplies -- Specimens.
Toy and movable books -- Specimens.
Blow books.
Children's art -- 1800.
Ink drawings -- 1800.
Watercolors -- 1800.

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