Binkie has been in the Davenport family, probably since the 1930s or 1940s. Binkie lived at Ivydene, Lewis and Wynne Davenport’s family home. The photograph shows him sitting on the piano (which came from Maskelyne’s) at Ivydene in 1971 when Wynne Davenport was playing the piano for a young Roy Davenport in the drawing room. Binkie’s arms and legs are jointed and, in his youth, he used to growl. As a young child John Davenport was frightened of him – he was too loud and scary!

The bottom right corner includes the information: Copyright 1967 A. Sirkia, Los Angeles. Screened by Royal Screen Craft, Inc. The print was purchased in 1968 when John Davenport spent three months in the USA during a university summer vacation.

Made by Timberkits, UK. The automaton is a wooden kit for home assembly. Each time the handle is turned the pelican crouches down and opens its mouth to reveal a fish. Assembled by John Davenport.

A Noah’s Ark is built on a low platform from flat walls and a roof. Despite the ark being obviously empty, the magician opens the roof and produces a huge number of animal caricatures from it. In the days of this illusion the Noah’s Ark was a well known trade mark for Bryant and May’s matches, so to give a magical finish to the illusion, the magician would patter along the lines of: “And what happened to the ark? It was turned into matches by Bryant and May.” At this point the ark would instantaneously transform into a giant box of matches, as in the illustration. The illusion is being performed here by John Davenport with Nikki and Ellen.