Maskelyne sent this on Egyptian Hall notepaper in reply to someone who was seeking to interview him. He explained that he was currently too busy because he was working on a new magical sketch on the subject of Theosophy. The sketch was first produced at the Egyptian Hall in August 1894 under the name ‘Modern Witchery’.
This drawing by the artist S.A.H. Robinson was printed on page 5 of ‘The Daily Graphic’, 19 January 1894. The caption reads ‘Festivities at the Foundling Hospital: Sketches at the annual entertainment to the children’.
This article from the ‘Era’ of 11 January 1896 reports on the show nearly 25 years after Maskelyne first appeared at the Hall. It is a positive review, welcoming the return of the sketch ‘Will, the Witch, and the Watchman’. David Devant, Mr. R.A. Roberts and Mr. Cramer on theorchestraphone also receive good reviews.
This advertisement from ‘The Daily Graphic’ of 19 January 1894, page 6, gives rather more information about the show than is usually found in newspaper advertisements. Mr. M.B. Spurr introduced a new sketch entitled ‘Liberty Hall’. David Devant was also on the bill.
These advertisements, which are photocopies, are signed: To Jimmy Findlay with Best Wishes Wilfred Hutchinson Oct 1957. There are two clippings, both from ‘The Daily Telegraph’, dated 31 August 1892 and 19 May 1893. The places of entertainment and some of the people involved are listed in the details.
The 20th consecutive year is 1892-1893. We do not usually include on this website photocopies of items in the Davenport Collection. However, this advertisement from ‘The Era Almanack Advertiser’ is worth sharing because of the very last line. When the prices of the various seats are listed, the final entry is ‘Babies, Ten Guineas each’.
This print of Nevil and J.N. Maskelyne appeared in ‘The Entr’acte’ of 16 May 1891 on page 9.
This issue celebrates the signing of the Versailles Peace Treaty on 28 June 1919.
We don’t know who collected the items in this box, nor when they became part of the Davenport Collection. By the late 20th century there were no magic related items inside the box; such items may well have been sold long before. Anyone interested in viewing all the items that remained can do so by clicking on View Details and then the Key Phrase ‘Wooden box items’. The box also contained old newspaper pages (dated 1899 or 1900) which appear to have been used as dividers for the box contents. These notes tell us that at one time the box may have contained items on theatrical shows, menageries, fantoccini, marionettes, monstrosities and curious exhibitions.
One item is a summary of his life from the time when he abandoned his father’s wish that he should become a surgeon, to his successful literary, lecturing and performing career. Some of the other newspaper cuttings describe how his Ascent of Mont Blanc performances developed over time. The print illustrated is from an unknown newspaper hand dated 4 October 1852. This is one of the items contained in a wooden box of 19th century ephemera, mainly relating to the Egyptian Hall. To view all the items from the box, click on View Details and then the Key Phrase ‘Wooden box items’.