Devant explains that a member of the Ladies’ Grand Council has suggested that members might like to purchase a block of seats on Mr. Maskelyne’s Grand Pavilion to view the procession for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. Along the bottom of the item is an unrelated piece illustrating Devant producing a rabbit on ‘animated photograph’ film. It explains how animated photographs work and acts as an advertisement for Devant’s exhibitions.

It is well known that Devant tried to sell seats in Maskelyne’s Grand Stand at St. Paul’s for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee procession on 22 June 1897, for example, see Ref. no. N2082. However, this is the only evidence that I have seen for Devant selling seats in the Royal Horse Guards Pavilion in Whitehall, a completely different part of London. The Magic Circle Archive also has a copy of this advertisement.

Devant announces new animated photographs for his ‘Cinematographe’. He also explains that to ensure he is able to obtain good pictures of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee procession on 22 June 1897, he has 140 seats for disposal on Mr. Maskelyne’s Grand Stand. The fascinating story of Maskelyne’s Grand Stand can be found in ‘John Nevil Maskelyne’s Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee speculation‘ by Dr Edwin A Dawes on this website.

Attached to the notepaper is a newspaper advertisement for the Egyptian Hall Maskelyne and Cooke Christmas Holiday show. No date is given, but the contents of the show relate to Christmas 1898. Items mentioned on the bill are the sketch ‘Trapped by Magic’; Animated Photographs; David Devant; Mel B. Spurr. The animated photographs include “Off to the Cape” taken on board a Castle Liner by R.W. Paul.

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.

The embossed tableau was executed in copper. The image was taken from the picture of ‘The Battle of Arbela’ painted by Le Brun. We are told ‘the plate of copper from which this work is produced by the aid of the puncheon and hammer alone, consists of a single sheet, not more than one sixteenth part of an inch in thickness. 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’.

Brother Jonathan, bred in New Hampshire, USA, was said to weigh 4,000 pound (500 stone) and measure almost 12 feet from nose to rump. He had a busy day, being exhibited from 9am to 9pm. The clip from the ‘Weekly Despatch’ is quite amusing. 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’.