It is very difficult to find reliable information on the salaries paid to variety acts. In this article Anne Goulden reports on Oswald Williams’ act at the Leicester Palace and compares his salary with the other acts on the bill. These are recorded in a salaries book which belongs to the British Music Hall Society Archive.
The signature in the bottom right hand corner is ‘Elcock 14’, presumably 1914. The illusion “Biff” was first presented at St. George’s Hall in 1913, and “Walking Through a Wall” in 1914.
The label, the artwork on which is dated 1914, came from a Davenport store. A number of magic collections contain examples of the British Box of Tricks with white labels printed in black ink, for example see references N1179 and N1180 on this website. However, I never recall seeing an actual box which has this coloured label on. If you know of one, please contact the curator of this website.
At the bottom of the artwork it reads: Sketched at The Magic Circle Theatre, London. It is signed De Vega 1914.
The note on the address side of the card says ‘Hold this card to a very bright light, to bring the “Sculptor’s Vision” in sight. Also nightly at Empress Theatre, Brixton. Monday. March 23, 1914, for one week.’ One of the photographs illustrated here was taken with a bright light behind, so bringing the “Sculpture’s Vision” into view.
The note on the address side of the card says ‘Hold this card to a very bright light, to bring the “Sculptor’s Vision” in sight. Also nightly at Opera House, Torquay, Monday. April 20, 1914, for one week.’
The card is signed by Chung Ling Soo to Alfred Mayhew, Christmas 1914. The folded outer card has inside it a piece of paper that is kept in place with a red, white and blue cord. The greeting is written on this piece of paper. We are grateful to Peter Lane for pointing out that Alfred Mayhew was the brother of Percy Mayhew. Percy was Chung Ling Soo’s Number 2 assistant circa 1912-1916. Alfred joined the Chung Ling Soo show as an assistant around 1913-1914.