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07 January 2020One Hundred Years of Deception: Hoaxes and Swindlers in the 18th Century
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One Hundred Years of Deception: Hoaxes and Swindlers in the 18th Century Mr Ian Keable MA Tuesday 07 January 2020

The 1700s was a period where the people of England seemed to be especially gullible.  They believed a woman could give birth to rabbits; that a man could climb inside a wine bottle and sing and dance inside it; and a balloonist could fly in a Chinese Temple.  These and other hoaxes - which involved the likes of Jonathan Swift, Samuel Johnson and the politician Charles James Fox - were written about in newspapers and journals and brilliantly and amusingly depicted by satirical artists such as William Hogarth and James Gillray.  In this entertaining talk Ian relates and illustrates sundry hoaxes and deliberate deceptions; all of which are memorable not only for the imaginative nature of the swindles, but also because of the differing motives of the tricksters.

Ian Keable gained a First Class degree from Oxford University in Politics, Philosophy and Economics, qualified as a Chartered Accountant and then became a professional magician, a Member of The Inner Magic Circle with Gold Star. He is currently performing a show about Charles Dickens, who was an amateur conjurer, called The Secret World of Charles Dickens. In 2014 he published ‘Charles Dickens Magician: Conjuring in Life, Letters & Literature’. Recently he presented a paper ‘Hogarth, Gillray & Cruikshank and the Bottle Conjurer Hoax’ at a conference at the University of Brighton. Ian divides his time between performing magic, giving talks and researching and writing.

Picture credit: Hogarth print of Mary Toft