The top of the cloth is attached to a length of wood so that it can be held in one hand and waved over piece of magical apparatus to cover an appearance or disappearance. It has been used by John Davenport to cover the appearance of an appearing vase. The actual vase can be seen under Ref. no. N60.
This was presented to John Davenport in 1994 by Cambridge magician Claude Perry. Claude told John that John Gambling used to have these special pieces of paper made up by Cambridge printers Foister & Jagg. The paper could be used to vanish a handkerchief. They pre-date the Tarbell Cone.
The case opens up to a length of 1590mm revealing four layers for holding samples. Originally first half of the 20th century, it was fitted with internal partitions circa 1970. This sample case was found in a Davenport store. It was fitted with white cardboard partitions to hold part of John Davenport’s collection of wire disentanglement puzzles.
Gus and John Davenport built an OO gauge model railway in the 1960s. Once built, they tired of watching the trains go round, and so looked for other things to add to the layout. On one side of the layout was a cliff covered in nothing other than clumps of grass on the cliff face. This seemed the ideal spot to build a funicular, and that is what they did. I have included it on this website for personal reasons, and on the basis that a home made funicular is certainly a novelty! A film of the layout made by magician Harry Baron is also in the collection.
What was Lewis like as a person? John Davenport paints a picture of his grandfather.
Historians of Victorian entertainment will be familiar with the Egyptian Hall on Piccadilly in London. It served as an entertainment complex until it was demolished in 1905. Less well known is the fact that the Hall has been captured on wall tiles in the Hyde Park Corner pedestrian underpass.
Click below to download the PDF containing John Davenport’s photographs.
The Egyptian Hall on Piccadilly in London was probably the best-known example in England of a building in the pseudo ancient Egyptian style. Another was built around 1830 in Penzance in Cornwall. It was a mixture of styles, but the Egyptian influence was clear.
Click below to download the PDF with additional information and John Davenport’s photographs.
The much loved Herbert J. Collings, also known as Col Ling Soo, became a successful society entertainer and performer for royalty in the first half of the 20th century. He was awarded the Gold Medal of The Magic Circle and twice served as their President. The Magic Circle owns a typescript of Smilestones, his reminiscences covering 1898 to 1946. With the permission of David Hibberd, Archivist of The Magic Circle, his Smilestones are reproduced here. 35 illustrations have been added.
Many of the Maskelyne items in the Davenport Collection were made for public consumption: programmes, publicity material, printed books, and so on. One of our shelves is occupied by books which were always intended to be private. They are the surviving business records of the Maskelynes at St George’s Hall.
The purpose of this article is to record the scope of these business records and provide examples of their content.
Growing up in the Davenport family, Gus was surrounded by magic performances and the manufacture and sale of magic. Fortunately, he embraced it. This short article describes Gus the man and the personality and skills that led him to particular styles of performing.