This print is from ‘The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News’, 4 December 1880, page 281. It is titled Maskelyne and Cook’s New Mystery. (Note the mis-spelling of Cooke.) On page 282 there is a short description of the action, also illustrated here.
This is a copy of ‘Balloons over Piccadilly’ by Thomas Shotter Boys. The Egyptian Hall can be seen on the right hand side.
Albert Smith was a larger than life Victorian character and, among other things, a great showman. His talks on the ascent of Mont Blanc at the Egyptian Hall were very popular. This item is an engraving by D. J. Pound from a photograph by Mayall. John Jabez Edwin Mayall was a well known photographer. Daniel John Pound was also well known, not least for translating photographs by Mayall, and other photographers, into engravings. See also N1463 in this EPHEMERA section for an Albert Smith token for the Egyptian Hall Museum, 1860.
Woodin (1825-1888) was particularly well known for his two entertainments the ‘Carpet Bag’ and the ‘Olio of Oddities’. He was a protean artiste and ventriloquist skilled in creating entertainments with many voices, mannerisms and costumes. His successes in London include performances at the Polygraphic Hall and the Egyptian Hall. This engraving is by D.J. Pound based on a photograph by Gill of London.
The print, probably from 1830, shows Michel Boai with his wife, and M. Engels the violin accompanist. They are shown ‘in the Costume in which they appear in their popular Performance at THE EGYPTIAN HALL Piccadilly’. Boai made his music with his mouth, chin and cheeks. Apparently he had perfect pitch over two and a half octaves and was said to be able to play extremely rapid passages of music with complete accuracy. See Ref. No. N1936 in this EPHEMERA section for details of Boai appearing at the Egyptian Hall.
The Savage Club was, and in 2020 still is, a gentleman’s club based in London. This item is a copy of the menu card when Devant was presiding. The artwork is signed by Harry May Hemsley. Hemsley knew Devant well and it is worth looking at high magnification at the many amusing sketches that Hemsley has taken from Devant’s supposed life. Devant often used Hemsley to provide him with cartoons which he used for newspaper advertisements. The second illustration, a framed menu card, was on display on the wall at the Savage Club in London in 2019.
Smoke and Mirrors – The Psychology of Magic was an exhibition put on by the Wellcome Collection in London from 11 April – 15 September 2019. Various items from the Davenport Collection featured, including the shop sign. This print was on sale at the Wellcome Shop for £6.00.
The engraving is attributed to A.H. Payne, 1847, after T.H. Shepherd. It shows General Tom Thumb’s carriage.
One side of this sheet from the Illustrated London News is an illustration of Mr. F. Maccabe’s entertainment “Begone, Dull Care”. The reverse side has an article on Maccabe, along with a second article about him that has been pasted onto the sheet. Maccabe was a very popular protean artiste and ventriloquist in the 1860s and 1870s. There is also an article about Mr. Alfred Burnett, the American Humorist who, with the assistance of Miss Nash, took over at the Egyptian Hall in London when Maskelyne and Cooke had a break in September 1874. A programme for their performance can be found under ref. N1468. Readers interested in the detail in the articles should download the appropriate image and view it at higher magnification.
As exhibited at the Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly. The small newspaper clip below the print reads: ‘EGYPTIAN HALL, PICCADILLY. The greatest Wonder of the Animal Kingdom, the MISSOURI LEVIATHAN, 16 feet high, and 30 feet long, tusks from point to point, 21 feet, is now Exhibiting at the Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly; together with a large variety of Remains of Antediluvian Animals, as the Mastodon, Retracaulodon, Orectiroterium, &c. Mr. Koch, the discoverer, is generally present, to give explanations to visitors. Admission, One Shilling.’