Spectacle of Illusion: Magic, the Paranormal and the Complicity of the Mind

Thames & Hudson

Barnbrook designed the book accompanying the major exhibition Smoke and Mirrors on the psychology of magic at the Wellcome Collection. Published by Thames & Hudson, authored by a professional magician-turned-experimental psychologist Dr Matthew L Tompkins, The Spectacle of Illusion investigates the arts of deception as practised and popularised by mesmerists, magicians and psychics since the early 18th century. The design of the book is a modern take on the Victorian typography, line drawings, layout and colours; represents the eerie but playful atmosphere of the Victorian magic show leaflets, magic books and posters. The book features double-exposure spirit photographs, photographs of spoon-bending from hitherto inaccessible archives, and also newly commissioned photography of planchettes, rapping boards, tilting tables, ectoplasm, automata and illusion boxes.