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

Books

Magical Variations by Alan Maskell

Magical Variations by Alan Maskell

Alan produced this for a workshop of The Young Magicians Club on 19 April 2008. This is the club organised by The Magic Circle. The tricks inside are strong magic, entertaining and can be performed without special apparatus.

Robert Ellis’ “VISHNU” rope trick

Robert Ellis’ “VISHNU” rope trick

This is a cut and restored rope trick published by Al Snyder of Charlston, West Virginia in 1943. A seven foot length of rope is apparently cut into three shorter lengths which are knotted together. Once the knots have been cut away, the rope is shown restored.

‘How It’s Done and Recollections of India’ by Dr Lynn. 1882

‘How It’s Done and Recollections of India’ by Dr Lynn. 1882

The title page of this book gives a different title: Travels and Adventures of Dr Lynn With a Supplement Showing “How It’s Done”. The book was printed in London for the author by Charles Dickens and Evans, Crystal Palace and dated 1882. The explanations of magic tricks should not be taken too seriously. For example, click View Details to see How to Take a Man to Pieces.

Richard Wiseman’s Wizard Book Test

Richard Wiseman’s Wizard Book Test

Magicians love to divine a word chosen by a spectator from a book. This is an entertaining, simple, direct book test which is up there with the best of them. According to Richard, the miracle depends on a psychological principle known as inattentional blindness. Complete with instructions. This was a gift from Richard Wiseman in 2022.

Halftone blocks corresponding to magicians’ photographs in ‘Will Goldston’s Who’s Who in Magic’

Halftone blocks corresponding to magicians’ photographs in ‘Will Goldston’s Who’s Who in Magic’

These 40 or so blocks look brand new and it is clear they have not been used to print anything. It seems they must be spare blocks, in case they were needed during the print-run of the book. The images shown here include the halftone blocks for Robert Harbin and Charles Bertram. There is also a PDF which lists all of the magicians included on these blocks and explains how the pages of illustrations were printed.

1953 Coronation Peep-Show Book by Edwin Smith

1953 Coronation Peep-Show Book by Edwin Smith

This well produced book contains a peep show of Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation as well as an interesting and detailed account of what happens during the ceremony. Published by the Hulton Press, London in 1953. This recent addition to the collection was a generous gift from Peter Lane.

The Redstone Box of Tricks

The Redstone Box of Tricks

Copyright 1995 by Redstone Press, London. The description on the back of the box reads: ‘Here is an enchanting box of surprises, drawn from the fascinating and hyperbolical history of magic and conjuring. Open the box to discover an astounding compendium of rare graphics and picture cards, amazing tricks and illusions, jugglings and jokes.’ That description is about right. Compiled by Daniel Stashower.