The Davenport family used the name Maskelyne’s Mysteries for their range of magic sets following their purchase of the Maskelyne’s business assets in 1935. This filled box is from around the 1950s, but the box itself with gold edging to the compartments may well be pre-war. The box was probably one sold by Goldstons, the wholesale arm of Davenports run by Gus Davenport.

The Davenport family used the name Maskelyne’s Mysteries for their range of magic sets following their purchase of the Maskelyne’s business assets in 1935. This filled box is from around the 1950s, but the box itself with gold edging to the compartments may well be pre-war. This box was probably one put together by Gus Davenport when he was running Goldstons, which was the wholesale part of Davenports in the 1950s.

The box was illustrated in the Harrods Christmas catalogue for 1961. The price was 32/6d. The boxes were supplied by Gus Davenport, either when trading as Goldston’s or when in partnership with Maureen Robin. The box also contained the Mysterious Sponge Cubes and the Vanishing Egg, but these had perished and had to be thrown away.

The Davenport family used the name Maskelyne’s Mysteries for their range of magic sets following their purchase of the Maskelyne’s business assets in 1935. The compartments within the box are edged with yellow paper. Earlier boxes were edged with gold paper, so this box is probably from the 1950s early 1960s period. In this period the Davenport wholesale business was run by Gus Davenport under the name Goldstons. When the Davenports purchased Will Goldston’s business following his death, it effectively became the wholesale arm of Davenports.

The Davenport family used the name Maskelyne’s Mysteries for their range of magic sets following their purchase of the Maskelyne’s business assets in 1935. In the 1950s Gus Davenport supplied BR Robin with magic sets which were advertised to the wholesale market. See the advertisement illustrated. The red paper on this box was typically used for the Robin’s boxes. Later these boxes were sold by Robin’s, a partnership between Gus Davenport and Maureen Robin.

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.