The Davenport Collection
- a growing resource on magic and entertainment history

Maskelyne and Cooke Provincial Company

Devant, Maskelyne and the Crispin Family

Devant, Maskelyne and the Crispin Family

In the Davenport Collection there are photographs of members of the Crispin family. These have been brought together in a brief article that explains how the family contributed to the Devant and Maskelyne shows. Perhaps the most widely known member of the family is Adela Crispin, who is credited as the levitated lady in a photograph in My Magic Life of Devant performing the Sylph Illusion. But was she? It turns out not everyone agrees. This too is discussed in the PDF.

Davenport Collection website e-news #12, December 2021

Davenport Collection website e-news #12, December 2021

Click on Details if you would like to download a PDF of this e-news.
E-newsletters like this one are sent out four times a year, highlighting recent additions to the website. If you’d like to be added to the mailing list, please contact the curator.
The December 2021 issue included:
– a very effective penetration trick from 1933.
– a box from the German magic dealer Carl Willmann, full of apparatus for a shadowgraphy performance.
– rare items from the Maskelyne and Cooke Provincial Company from the 1900 period.
– a 1904 illuminated address to Mr. and Mrs. Devant, concerning their daughter Vida.
– examples of novelties and jokes spanning 100 years.
– new plans for the website in 2022.

To see all the other e-news, click on Website e-news.

Maskelyne and Cooke Provincial Company and Entertainment Bureau: 1899 Partnership Agreement – summary of main points

Maskelyne and Cooke Provincial Company and Entertainment Bureau: 1899 Partnership Agreement – summary of main points

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.

Signed presentation to Mr. and Mrs. Devant from the members of the Maskelyne and Cooke Provincial Company on the recent advent of their daughter

Signed presentation to Mr. and Mrs. Devant from the members of the Maskelyne and Cooke Provincial Company on the recent advent of their daughter

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.

Maskelyne and Cooke’s Mysteries Provincial Tour List 1904-1905, with a separate page of financial details covering all weeks

Maskelyne and Cooke’s Mysteries Provincial Tour List 1904-1905, with a separate page of financial details covering all weeks

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.

Maskelyne and Cooke’s Mysteries Provincial Tour List 1903-1904, with a separate page of financial details covering all weeks

Maskelyne and Cooke’s Mysteries Provincial Tour List 1903-1904, with a separate page of financial details covering all weeks

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 tour usually followed the pre-printed tour dates and venues, but there were exceptions. The images included here show both sides of the Tour List and the single-sided financial summary.

Unusual rebus puzzle advertising Maskelyne and Cooke’s Mysteries at the Portland Hall, Southsea. Commencing 25 August 1902

Unusual rebus puzzle advertising Maskelyne and Cooke’s Mysteries at the Portland Hall, Southsea. Commencing 25 August 1902

On one side is the rebus and a blank area where the address or name of the recipient can be written. The other side has the show details on it, as well as the answer to the rebus. This means that the card can be folded in half and glued around the perforated edges, prior to posting, so that the recipient can only see the rebus and their own name. To open the card they have to tear off the edge at the perforations, so revealing the details of the show and the answer to the rebus. Have a go at solving the rebus before you click on View Details.