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Evanion Collection of ephemera

Over 2,000 adverts and posters from Victorian daily life, collected by the stage magician and ventriloquist, Henry Evans - Evanion to his audience.

Image of Helen Peden

Helen Peden

Curator, British Collections 1801-1914

The British Library now owns some 5,000 items from the 'Evanion' collection, originally purchased by the British Museum in 1895. They include many colourful posters and handbills produced as publicity for the various entertainments staged in music halls and theatres, as well as for exhibitions, circuses and other popular events. Trade catalogues, price lists and advertising materials that were once in general circulation reflect both the necessities and the aspirations of contemporary life.

Read the full curator's introduction

Curator's choice

Helen Peden highlights personal favourite items from the collection

See all of the items in this exhibition

Ticket for a "Wonderful and Amusing Entertainment" by M. Evanion

Henry Evans (ca.1832-1905) was born in Kennington, South London. Under the stage name "Evanion" h...

Trade card of James Pain, pyrotechnist 4228

Charles Brock's spectacular firework fetes at the Crystal Palace during the 1860s and 70s inspire...

Advertisement for cocoa products manufactured by J S Fry & Sons

Dr Joseph Fry, a Quaker apothecary with remarkable business acumen, took advantage of the opportu...

Advertisement for Edward Grove, fashionable tailor and complete outfitter

At the beginning of the 19th century, all fashionable clothing for the upper classes was made by ...

Programme for the Canterbury Theatre of Varieties, Monday 25 March 1889

The popular Canterbury Theatre of Varieties was the first of the great music halls. Opened in 185...

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