When found in a Davenport storeroom the display was in this frame, but there was no glass protecting it. For protection the display was framed under UV protective glass in 2014. The lady shown in the photograph at the bottom is Evelyne Maskelyne, Jasper Maskelyne’s first wife.
This is a Maskelyne invention and so an association piece. Probably circa 1880s based on the design. Around this time there were a number of UK patent applications covering cash registers in the name Maskelyne.
The magician shows a number of keys, demonstrating that one will open the lock. The keys are mixed up in a bag and various spectators take out a key at random, leaving the last one for the magician. It turns out that the magician has the only key that will open the lock. From the writing on an envelope with this effect, John Davenport believes that it was a trick that came from Maskelynes. The writing is the same as was found on other items from Maskelynes. Presumably they came to the Davenport family when it bought the assets of the Maskelyne business in 1935.
Binkie has been in the Davenport family, probably since the 1930s or 1940s. Binkie lived at Ivydene, Lewis and Wynne Davenport’s family home. The photograph shows him sitting on the piano (which came from Maskelyne’s) at Ivydene in 1971 when Wynne Davenport was playing the piano for a young Roy Davenport in the drawing room. Binkie’s arms and legs are jointed and, in his youth, he used to growl. As a young child John Davenport was frightened of him – he was too loud and scary!
This image can be found, for example, in the Maskelyne’s Mysteries programme for the 1934 summer season at the Little Theatre in London.
This item has a purpose built wooden carrying case with Jasper Maskelyne’s name on the outside. We believe it was originally an Oswald Williams item. In 1988 the magician Eric Widger said he remembered seeing this presented in a Maskelyne show as follows: ‘Oswald Williams and Jasper Maskelyne were on stage, with Williams holding what looks like a flat tray. Maskelyne says: “If the King of Siam bought a motor car, what sort of motor car would the King of Siam buy, if he bought a motor car?” Williams replied: “It would depend on what he could afFORD.” At that moment Williams turns the tray over so that the audience see the words A FORD. While the audience laughs at this play on words, the flat tray instantaneously transforms to a 3D car to give a surprise finish.’ [At the time, the King of Siam was a well known rich person, hence the use of his name for this trick.]
Frederick Culpitt opened the doors of the doll’s house and removed some furniture, showing that the doll’s house was now empty. As Culpitt removed the chimney pot, the roof opened and a lady was found inside, his wife Jan Glenrose. The performance photograph is from a Maskelyne programme.
This is the Square Pig, with its carrying case, that was used at Maskelynes. The magician draws a pig on a slate but uses only straight lines. The audience says that a pig should look round, so on the command of the magician the pig actually turns its head round so that it looks the other way.
This is the agreement whereby Lewis Davenport bought the assets of Maskelyne’s Limited from the receiver, John Dowding Brown. Brown was acting on behalf of the debenture holders. One of the assets was the right to use the name ‘Maskelyne’s Mysteries’. Davenports made good use of this name, not least for their range of magic sets. The purchase price was £300, a considerable sum at the time.
This was a one-off prop made for use in a Maskelyne sketch. The Maskelyne’s Christmas 1933 season at the Little Theatre included an item called: We’ve been to a shop. It took the form of words sung to the tune of ‘Here we come gathering nuts in May’ and was illustrated with conjuring tricks. The Christmas pudding was magically produced during the final verse of the song. The original script for this show is in the Davenport Collection.