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’.

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’.