To our knowledge the contents of this partnership agreement have remained confidential until now. The parties to the agreement were J.N. and Nevil Maskelyne (the Maskelynes) and David Devant. Devant was managing partner. The Maskelyne and Cooke Provincial Company made annual tours of Great Britain from 1899 to 1905. The Entertainment Bureau supplied high class entertainments for many years. There is much of interest in the partnership agreement and Anne’s article is a useful summary.

This impressive advertising is to promote Devant’s ‘Brilliant and highly refined drawing-room entertainment’. The excellent portrait photographs, signed Meisenbach, show Devant and his young wife. Today we know that they were not actually married at this time.

One side of this advertisement, which is printed on thin card, has an eye catching illustration, including a roundel showing Devant’s head in the top left corner. The other side is headed ‘A HIGHLY-REFINED DRAWING-ROOM ENTERTAINMENT. PROGRAMME.’ Details are given of Devant’s repertoire: Prestidigitation, Hand shadows, Paper puzzles. Mental phenomena and Illusions.

This charming presentation signed by the members of the company accompanied the gift of a Dressing Case. Research in recent decades has pointed towards their daughter Vida Mary Heather being adopted by the Devants. This might explain the wording ‘congratulations on the recent advent of your daughter’. There is no mention of the birth of Vida.

These two items were stored together by Maskelynes, with a brass paper fastener attaching them by the top left corner. This explains the holes in the top left corners. The information gives the tour venues and confirms that the show usually spent a week at each venue. The financial summary gives a breakdown of costs for each venue and the average receipts and expenses for the whole tour. The images included here show both sides of the Tour List and the single-sided financial summary.