St. James’s Hall, situated between Regent Street and Piccadilly, was the first central London venue for Maskelyne and Cooke, prior to their move to the Egyptian Hall. People used to reading 19th century newspaper prose will know that it can be, shall we say, over the top. This particular article on pages 145, 146 and 160 would take some beating! Caution must be exercised in believing that the drawings are an accurate representation of the hall.

The item on page 32 is headlined ‘King of Magic’s Command Show’. It describes a visit to the Putney Home for Incurables by members of The Magic Circle, at the invitation of David Devant. The article reported Devant’s view that ‘Conjuring has certainly not made the advance during the last twenty years that it should have done.’

Members of J.N. Maskelyne’s company presented the original of this testimonial, dated 26 May 1898, to JN. This particular copy is rather special because JN gave it to George Cooke for Christmas 1898. His inscription on the reverse is ‘To G.A. Cooke| Accept this copy with my [incomplete word, possibly ‘heartfelt’] reciprocation of the good wishes in the original. | J.N. Maskelyne | Christmas 1898.’