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The March 2022 issue included:
– the launch of the Films Category and the Davenport Film Collection YouTube Channel.
– Ali Bongo version of the Gozinta Box with a double load.
– “Humpty Dumpty” children’s paper tearing trick.
– Devant’s early performing career.
– the staying power of traditional toys and novelties.
– “Shanroy” Scenery from The Servais Le Roy Company.
– an 1889 letter from J.N. Maskelyne and an unresolved issue

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The transcript of this letter is:
May 9 1896
Dear Sir
I have considered the question of purchasing your collection of Playing Cards and have decided not to do so. I may however hear of someone who would like such a collection, and if I do I will put the matter before him.
Yours very truly
J.N. Maskelyne
H. Evanion Esqr.

It would appear that this letter was once in the Jimmy Findlay Collection. Jim Hagy mentions in his book on Evanion that: ‘Findlay possessed in his collection a letter from Maskelyne to Evanion dated May 9, 1896 declining to purchase the latter’s playing card collection’. (Early English Conjuring Collectors: James Savren and Henry Evanion by James Hagy, Second Edition published in 2020 by Reginald Scot Books, Glenview, USA, page 72.) Jim’s excellent book is the place to go to for information on Evanion.

The transcript of this letter is:
June 19. 1889
Dear Sir
I shall be glad to inspect your collection a little later on. Just now I am exceedingly busy with machines for the Paris Exhibition.
I have much matter concerning androids.
Yours very truly
J.N. Maskelyne
H. Evanion Esq.

Maskelyne’s letter is to Henry Evanion, a major collector of paper ephemera, including much relating to magicians. For information on Evanion see Early English Conjuring Collectors: James Savren and Henry Evanion by James Hagy, Second Edition published in 2020 by Reginald Scot Books, Glenview, USA.

Some of the 1890-1891 Egyptian Hall programmes for the Maskelyne and Cooke shows include an advertisement for Maskelyne’s Mechanical Cashier & Book-Keeper on the back page. The example illustrated here is from Ref. no. N2012. According to the advertisement it ‘Beat all competitors at the Paris Exhibition, receiving the highest award given for cash registering apparatus’. The illustration includes the words ‘Silver Medal, Paris 1889’. It is likely that Maskelyne’s letter to Evanion refers to the work needed to prepare these machines for the Exhibition.

The curator of this website is currently trying to confirm that Maskelyne really did win the Silver Medal. This is necessary because J.N. Maskelyne’s claims cannot always be taken at face value. A search by the National Library of France confirmed that M. Maskelyne of Manchester did submit a cash register (details here) but was unable to find information relating to the medals awarded.

Many entertainers have financial difficulties in their early careers. David Devant wrote about his early struggles in My Magic Life.

In December 1892 he put on a show at Balham Hall. The show made a loss, but it turned out to be an important step in securing a place for him in Maskelyne & Cooke’s theatre at the Egyptian Hall. He used the show to showcase his new stage illusion, Vice Versa. The illusion caught the eye of the Crystal Palace management, and before long Devant had secured a booking at the Egyptian Hall. However, Vice Versa was too large for the Egyptian Hall stage. J.N. Maskelyne asked Devant to come up with something more suitable. The result was The Artist’s Dream, based on the same principle as Vice Versa.

Anne draws on previously unpublished material which allows the fascinating details of the story to be told.

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The March 2021 issue included:
Gems from The Magic Circle Collection: Mr Maskelyne’s famous play by Anne Goulden.
Gus Davenport – the man and the magician by John Davenport.
– Roy Field on Magic at the Seaside.
– Honouring Oswald Williams.
– Paul Freeman on Adalbert Frikell.

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Click on Details if you would like to download a PDF of this e-news.
E-newsletters like this one are sent out four times a year, highlighting recent additions to the website. If you’d like to be added to the mailing list, please contact the curator.

The December 2020 issue included:
– What kept John Nevil Maskelyne busy in 1894?
– Steve Beam on bookplates.
– Space-efficient collections.
– Lewis Davenport’s travels in Europe.
– It’s December, so here’s an example of that perennial gift: the magic set.

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Click on Details if you would like to download a PDF of this e-news.
E-newsletters like this one are sent out four times a year, highlighting recent additions to the website. If you’d like to be added to the mailing list, please contact the curator.

The July 2019 issue included:
– Letters from The Front by Michael Colley.
– Ephemera other than posters and programmes.
– Wynne Davenport’s stage dresses.
– Peter Warlock paintings.
– A Maskelyne designed cash register.
– Novelties.

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To our knowledge the contents of this partnership agreement have remained confidential until now. The parties to the agreement were J.N. and Nevil Maskelyne (the Maskelynes) and David Devant. Devant was managing partner. The Maskelyne and Cooke Provincial Company made annual tours of Great Britain from 1899 to 1905. The Entertainment Bureau supplied high class entertainments for many years. There is much of interest in the partnership agreement and Anne’s article is a useful summary.

The two parties to this partnership agreement were J.N. and Nevil Maskelyne (the Maskelynes) and David Devant. Devant was the managing partner. The Maskelyne and Cooke Provincial Company carried out annual tours around Great Britain from 1899 to 1905. The Entertainment Bureau operated for many years supplying high class entertainments. There is much of interest in the agreement, including the agreement on profit sharing. Anne Goulden has produced a useful summary of the main points covered by the agreement in an Article on this website which can be found here.