The pleasures of random surfing

One thing I love about the Interwebs is the way in which you can stumble upon something interesting by just randomly clicking around. Today’s Example: The Evanion Collection of Ephemera at the British Museum.flea powder ad

Evanion was a magician:

London-born Henry Evans, or ‘Evanion’ as he styled himself on stage, enjoyed a long and reasonably successful career as a conjurer, ventriloquist and humorist. Harry Houdini, the American escapologist, remembered him as a “dear old friend who introduced me to a throng of fascinating characters.” Evanion took advantage of this theatrical background to amass a large and fascinating collection of printed ephemera relating to entertainment and everyday life in Victorian England.

And oh, is there a lot of interesting stuff there! Of course, I was interested in the entomology bits, but there is much more–including some tickets for magic shows and ads for tripe dressers. (EW!). BTW, the magicians described on that ticket seemed to be making a career out of debunking spiritualists.

In general, it’s just amazing how much advertising has changed over the last 125 years. No one would ever run an ad now with this many words. And you have to really love the juxtaposition of Insect powder, worm tablets, and Queen Victoria.

Another online exhibit at the British Museum: Lost Gardens, featuring artwork showing gardens of the past.

Enjoy some time wastage! (And a waggle of the antennae to Heraclitean Fire, which I found while randomly surfing and who pointed me to this collection at the BM.)