06 March, 2010

Item 49: Falynne Hyperion Cabinet Card

Item 49: Cabinet Card of Falynne Hyperion.  Early 1882.

We have to this point said little of Falynne Hyperion, an original member of the Society of the Mechanical Sun, whose 1882 cabinet card portrait we now reveal.  We have previously exhibited  the portraits of the other founding members, Geoffrey Hawkins (Item 46), Timothy Deakin (Item 47) and Berkley Vanderzee (Item 48).  The cabinet card of Falynne Hyperion is classified as Collection Item 49.

Falynne Jane Maddock was born to parents Magnus and Ivory Maddock in Paris in on 15 May, 1853.  Magnus Maddock, a professional magician, was better known to the general public as Magnus Hyperion.  Maddock was born and raised in London, but shortly after his marriage to Ivory in 1848, he traveled to Paris to study under the tutelage of master conjurer and performer Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin.  The couple returned to London in 1857 where Magnus, as the Grande Hyperion, became one of England's premiere stage magicians.

Ivory Maddock was brutally murdered in October of 1862, leaving Maddock as the sole caregiver for the young Falynne.  She soon became immersed in her father's professional life and was especially fascinated with the mechanics of the illusions he created and performed.  By age seventeen, she was designing and building her own illusions that Magnus happily included in his repertoire.  She traveled extensively with her father throughout much of Europe and the Americas prior to his retirement in 1875.   When her father's tour stopped in Chicago during the summer of 1873, she met cattle rancher Nicholas Vanderzee.  Impressed with the young woman's intellect and natural abilities, Nicholas suggested she contact his brother Berkley, a well-known London inventor and watchmaker.  Nicholas would write his brother on Falynne's behalf and suggest an informal apprenticeship to commence when Falynne returned to London later that year.

Falynne had little interest in theater and celebrity, and with the help of Berkley Vanderzee, instead channeled her passion for mechanical design into successful enterprises as both inventor and entrepreneur, remarkable achievements in the male-dominated society of Victorian England.

As a tribute to her father upon his passing in 1878, she formally adopted Hyperion as her surname.

The set of four cabinet cards and the Hawkins timepiece have been formally categorized as Lot 1: January 1882.

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