The Davenport Collection
- a growing resource on magic and entertainment history

Mr. H. Verne

Novelty give away advertisement for Devant’s Entertainment at the Masonic Hall, Birmingham. Commencing 27 February 1899

Novelty give away advertisement for Devant’s Entertainment at the Masonic Hall, Birmingham. Commencing 27 February 1899

This advertisement can be folded to show The Box Trick in action. The words explain: ‘The performer enters the box which he completely fills so that no part can collapse inwards. It is then locked, enveloped in a sack, corded and sealed thus preventing any section giving outwards. Yet in a few seconds the gentleman escapes without disturbing a single knot, leaving the box perfectly empty.’ The year is not stated, but we know from other publicity that the year is 1899. The same novelty design was used by Maskelyne and Cooke’s Mysteries when they were performing in Dublin in 1901 (item N2592).

Programme for David Devant’s Entertainment at the Town Hall, Oxford. 1899

Programme for David Devant’s Entertainment at the Town Hall, Oxford. 1899

This is a programme from Devant’s cinevariety tour 1898-1899. The programme tells us that Devant was actually performing twice nightly at the Egyptian Hall. See Devant and early cinema for similar items.

We have Ian Keable to thank for pointing out that the show differed from the one advertised in the progamme. Ian discovered from the Oxford Times and Reading Gazette of 25 February that Mr Mel. B. Spurr was ill and Animated Photographs were shown instead.

Maskelyne and Cooke programme for the Egyptian Hall, 20th consecutive year

Maskelyne and Cooke programme for the Egyptian Hall, 20th consecutive year

Maskelyne and Cooke’s twentieth consecutive year at the Egyptian Hall was 1892-1893. According to the book by George Jenness on the Egyptian Hall, Louis Duprez and his trio of Canine Conjurors was new to the Hall on 19 December 1892. Jeness also said that just before Christmas 1892 Douglas Beaufort finished, but the dogs remained on the holiday programme, which also included Arcana, Proper-ganders and Mr. H. Verne. The earliest date for this programme would therefore be just before Christmas 1892.

Maskelyne and Cooke, Egyptian Hall, London

Maskelyne and Cooke, Egyptian Hall, London

The bill includes ‘Arcana’ which was first produced on 5 November 1887, according to Jenness. ‘Arcana’ continued for at least 8 months into 1888. The likely programme date is therefore 5 November 1887 to some point during 1888.

Maskelyne and Cooke, Egyptian Hall, London

Maskelyne and Cooke, Egyptian Hall, London

A note on page 3 makes it clear that this is an evening programme and that the matinee programme is entirely different and includes Charles Bertram. According to Jenness, Bertram first appeared on 17 December 1885. The programme date is therefore likely to be after mid December 1885 or into 1886.

Maskelyne and Cooke, Egyptian Hall, London

Maskelyne and Cooke, Egyptian Hall, London

The bill includes ‘Arcana’ which was first produced on 5 November 1887, according to Jenness. ‘Arcana’ continued for at least 8 months into 1888. The bill is identical to that of programme Ref. no. N1568, so the date may well be summer 1888. Note that this programme is Price one penny, whereas no price is given on N1568.