Trade card of James Pain, pyrotechnist 4228
Lithograph, coloured, 1884
From the Evanion Collection, Online Exhibition, the British Library
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…Evanion took advantage of this theatrical background to amass a large and fascinating collection of printed ephemera… The British Library now owns some 5,000 items from his collection, originally purchased by the British Museum in 1895.
The Evanion collection is both interesting and exceptional in the variety of its items and in the many aspects of English Victorian life they illuminate. It’s a rare and significant collection largely because such material was not considered of any lasting value in its own day, and so was neither preserved nor collected. Despite this, the collection includes many examples of fine printing, often extremely attractive and of merit in their own right.