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The Davenport Collection

– a growing resource on magic and entertainment history


https://www.davenportcollection.co.uk/item_category/films/

Our studio are proud to be digitising The Davenports extensive 35mm motion film collection.  They have been accumulating magic, puzzles, jokes, novelties and related ephemera ever since Lewis Davenport founded Davenports magic business in 1898. It was not until the 1980s that a start was made on assessing the breadth and depth of what the family owned.

The task of collating and communicating the contents of the collection has already resulted in:

  • Specialist talks given at gatherings of magic history enthusiasts and researchers.
  • Articles in magic journals.
  • Books about the history of the Maskelynes, Will Goldston and the Davenports and their association with famous magical personalities.

This website is the next stage in making the family collection more accessible to:

  • Researchers and
  • those interested in the history of magic and entertainment

Once specialist talks have been given, their content is often hard or impossible to find. One purpose of this website is to make these illustrated talks available.

The Davenport family hopes that like-minded individuals will contribute their own illustrated talks or articles on magic history – contact the curator if you are interested. Credit to all authors will be given. We are also very happy to exchange links with relevant magic or entertainment history websites.

We hope that our website will grow into an increasingly useful research resource. We welcome your feedback which can be sent to the curator. A good way to start exploring the website is with the Content Overview page.

If you would like to receive an occasional email – no more than four a year – which highlights some recent additions to the website, please just contact the curator and request a copy.

 

The Chefalos and Davenports were good friends. Indeed, when Mr. and Mrs. Chefalo were married in 1939 in Marylebone, London, one of the two witnesses was Augustus (Gus) Davenport. This film clip shows the Chefalos at Ivydene, the Davenport family home. The monkey belonged to the Chefalos: Wyn Davenport recalls that they carried it around in a sponge bag. The final line up of the clip (from left to right) is: Maddelena Chefalo, Chefalo, Betty on Wyn’s shoulders, Lewis, Wynne, Jean on Gilly (George) Davenport’s shoulders, Eve (Gilly’s wife). Presumably Gus took control of the cine camera for the line-up. He was certainly there because we see him laughing with Chefalo on the clip.

The photograph illustrated is of Chefalo with Maddelena and their daughter Triestina in 1940.

 

The International Brotherhood of Magicians British Ring held their 8th Annual Convention at Malvern in 1938. On Friday 24 June the Davenport family took a 16mm colour film of Esmé Levante escaping from bonds underwater. This stunt was arranged to provide publicity for the convention’s public magic show.

 

When magic visitors were invited to the Davenport family home, Ivydene in Kent, there was usually some fooling around. Filming was done outside because of the brighter light. On this film we see everyone having fun on the lawn. Bill Stickland demonstrates his doll made up of a body and Bill’s hand for its face. Bill is also pushing Wyn Davenport along in a wheelbarrow. Les Levante is fooling around with a pot on his shoulder. Gladys and Esmé Levante are there too. The children are Betty and Jean Davenport. Also appearing are Wynne, George and Gus Davenport.

 

When magic visitors were invited to the Davenport family home, Ivydene in Kent, there was usually some fooling around. Filming was done outside because of the brighter light. On this film we see Jim Sherman (on the left) and Brunel White (on the right) having fun on the lawn with members of the Davenport family. Jim Sherman was for many years a working magician and then magic dealer in the United States. Brunel White was a magic dealer, also known for a column about magicians which he wrote in the World’s Fair.

 

The German Magic Circle (Magischer Zirkel Deutschland) celebrated its 25th anniversary with a congress in Berlin. The Davenport family – Lewis, Wynne and Gus – were there. Gus Davenport won a competition, the prize being the statuette ‘Táltos’ (see also N108). Part of his competition act is shown in this film. The film was taken by F.A. Brandt. The illustrations show Táltos and the story as told by the World’s Fair.

 

The German Magic Circle (Magischer Zirkel Deutschland) celebrated its 25th anniversary with a congress in Berlin. The Davenport family – Lewis, Wynne and Gus – were there. The President of the Magischer Zirkel was Helmut Schrieber (Kalanag). This film of Kalanag’s show at the convention was taken by F.A. Brandt.

 

The German Magic Circle (Magischer Zirkel Deutschland) celebrated its 25th anniversary with a congress in Berlin. The Davenport family – Lewis, Wynne and Gus – were there. This film of Marvelli’s show at the convention was taken by F.A. Brandt. At the convention Marvelli was awarded the ‘Ring des Magischen Zirkels’. The illustrations here are of Marvelli and the ring (credit: Magie, May 1937).

 

The German Magic Circle (Magischer Zirkel Deutschland) celebrated its 25th anniversary with a congress in Berlin. The Davenport family – Lewis, Wynne and Gus – were there. This film by F.A. Brandt shows Gus Davenport delivering greetings from magicians in Great Britain. Although the film is silent, the speech was recorded at the time on a gramophone record. This sound has therefore been added to the film clip. The illustrations here include one of the gramophone record which, unusually, is very flexible and plays at 78rpm from the centre outwards.

 

The German Magic Circle (Magischer Zirkel Deutschland) celebrated its 25th anniversary with a congress in Berlin. The Davenport family – Lewis, Wynne and Gus – were there. Gus Davenport conveyed greetings from magicians in Great Britain and entered, and won, a competition. This film, taken by F.A. Brandt, captures the proceedings and includes shots of many notables such as Helmut Schreiber, Marvelli and Ottokar Fischer. Brandt’s film has been edited in this version so as to avoid divulging magic secrets.

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