The photograph is signed: To the Davenport Troupe. In purity’s name Billy Bennett. Bennett (1887 – 1942) was a British comedian who specialised in parodies of dramatic monologues and was billed as ‘Almost a Gentleman’.

Lewis Davenport featured this in his 1920s and 1930s stage act. He used his own original method for the Sunshade Trick and the Davenport family have always vigorously pursued magicians who have copied this method. In the Davenport Collection we have a sunshade that was probably made in the late 1930s. This particular one may never have been used by Lewis, but was certainly used by his son Gus Davenport. The effect as described at the Wood Green Empire in 1928 was as follows: a lady enters holding the open sunshade over her shoulder and carrying a handbag in her other hand. The sunshade is closed and wrapped in a sheet of brown paper. Six silks of different colours are taken from the handbag and they transform into the cover of the sunshade. The sunshade handle is drawn out from the paper and found to carry a silk on each rib – the cover has gone. The sunshade with the silks on it is then returned to the paper roll. The cover of the sunshade is placed in a hat, from which the silks are then produced, the hat being shown empty. The sunshade is pulled out of the paper, restored with its proper cover on. The audience is baited to believe that there is another sunshade in the paper, but the paper is torn up proving it to be empty. The first photograph shows Gus and Wyn Davenport performing the trick with a square sunshade cover. The other two photographs show Lewis and Wynne Davenport. In later years the silks were replaced by various items that might be found in a lady’s handbag, giving the added opportunity for some humour.

The annual dinner took place on 26 January 1930 at the Hotel Victoria, Northumberland Avenue, London. The hand written caption below the photograph incorrectly refers to the Northumberland Hotel. Louis Gautier is standing at the back, just left of centre. There is a brief description of the evening in ‘The Magician Monthly’, February 1930.