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.

24th consecutive year, 1896-1897. According to the book on the Egyptian Hall by George Jenness, the Christmas programme started on 22 December 1896, and included ‘Chameleon’ for the first time. The earliest date for this programme is therefore 22 December 1896. This is consistent with the hand written date on page 1 of ‘Monday afternoon, 22 February 1897’. On this programme the person playing Chameleon is Miss A. Hansard. Programme Ref. no. N2068 has identical wording but for the fact that Chameleon is played by Miss Marion Melville.

1897 was the 60th year of Queen Victoria’s reign. There were to be Diamond Jubilee Celebrations and Maskelyne saw an opportunity to make a good profit by building a Grand Pavilion with a view of the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral, where the ceremony was to take place. Unfortunately, the speculation did not turn out well. Dr Dawes draws on many sources to tell this story. We meet David Devant and Douglas Beaufort and learn about some rather surprising litigation that resulted from Maskelyne’s initiative.