Jean-Claude SEGUIN



Le chronophotographe de W. D. Slade (novembre 1897)

William David Slade, marchand de chaussures à Cheltenham, qui s'intéresse depuis plusieurs années aux projections lumineuses, fait l'acquisition d'un chronophotographe Demenÿ, à la fin de l'année 1896, avec lequel il va organiser des séances de photographies animées. Il va faire équipe, pendant quelques mois, avec Walter Robert Booth, un prestidigitateur magicien et ventriloque. Pourtant, depuis le mois d'août 1897, Slade tourne seul et il vient de donner des séances à Grantham. Une seule séance est organisée le mercredi 10 novembre, au Masonic Hall (Lincolnshire Echo, 10 novembre 1897, p. 2), mais nous ne savons rien de  plus.




Les Animated Photographs de la Maskelyne and Cooke's Provincial Company (octobre 1900)

La Maskelyne and Cooke's Company, dont le responsable est David Devant, parcourt l'Angleterre depuis le mois de juillet 1899, afin d'y présenter son spectacle fait de numéros de magie et prestidigitation. L'équipe vient de Chesterfield où elle a proposé son spectacle pendant une semaine. À Lincoln, les séances vont avoir lieu au Corn Exchange à partir du 22 octobre 1900.

lincoln 1900

Messrs. Maskelyne and Cooke's magical entertainment, from the Egyptian Hall, London, is to be produced nightly next week in the Corn Exchange, Lincoln, so that citizens and others will be enabled to witness the marvels produced at “England's Home of Mystery" without incurring the expense and trouble of going up to town for that purpose. The programme includes a fairy fantasy, entitled “The Gnome's Grot," with illusions invented by Messrs. J. N. Maskelyne and D. Devant ; new and original magical problems, by Mr. David Devant, concluding with his remarkable electric hand shadows; the famous box trick; Mr. Maskelyne’s remarkable spiritualistic sketch, entitled “Mrs. Daffodil Downey's Seance;" and a splendid display of animated photographs—genuine and up-to-date war pictures, sensational scenes with thrilling effects, amongst being a railway collision and the eclipse of the sun. A first-class orchestra will perform selections of music during each entertainment. There will be no afternoon matinee.

Lincolnshire Chronicle , 19 octobre 1900, p. 5.

Lincolnshire Chronicle, 19 octobre 1900, p. 8

Les films dont les titres sont annoncés sont des succès du moment, la célèbre A Railway Collision et la vue prise lors de l'éclipe du 28 mai 1900, The Eclipse of the Sun. Par ailleurs des "war pictures" de la Guerre du Transvaal sont également proposées. Mais à Lincoln, nous avons également la chance de pouvoir disposer d'un long article consacré, pour l'essentiel, à David Devant et à ses différents talents d'homme de spectacle et de manager :

Maskelyne and Cooke's Mysteries.-The citizens of Lincoln have this week for the first time an opportunity without journeying to London of seeing the wonderful mysteries which have made the name of Maskelyne famous the world over. The entertainment is nightly being given in the Corn Exchange, and higher praise than it really deserves it would be impossible to bestow. The mystification of the audience is complete, and to those who have never seen the performance we can give no better advice that contained in the one word “Go." Mr. David Devant, who for many years has been associated with the Egyptian Hall (Messrs. Maskelyne and Cooke's), has personal direction of the entertainment, and no trifling measure of its success is due to his ability and his inexhaustible fund of quiet humour. A fairy fantasy, “The Gnome's Grot," opens the programme, and the charming illusion with which this concludes holds the audience spell-bound. It is simply, however, a paving of the way for even better things to follow. Mr. Devant next appears, and his equal at sleight-of-hand bas, at Lincoln at least, seldom been seen. He seems brimful, too, of comic "patter," and has the audience almost continually aching with laughter. The famous box trick, which has been the cause so much litigation, and which has defied and baffled thousands who have attempted to investigate it, is of course shown, and how the occupant manages extricate himself from the looked, sack covered and corded trunk as great a mystery as ever. In fact, the entertainment is a mysterious one from beginning to end, and a century or two ago a person showing one half of such tricks and illusions would have been held to be in league with his Satanic Majesty. Mr. Devant also contributes scores of most amusing and skilful electric hand shadows -successfully depicting the British bull dog pulling Kruger's whiskers, dogs fighting, woman's toilet, &c., in addition to remarkable shadows of an elephant, leopard, hippopotamus, bull, and almost every animal of the Zoo. The greater part of the second portion of the programme is devoted to Mr. Maskelyne's spiritualistic sketch, “Mrs. Daffodil Downey's Seance," and this mystifies the company ten times more even than the box trick, for repeatedly persons are shown inside a cabinet which a few seconds before was empty. There is also a display of excellent animated photos-Niagara Falls, a train in collision, British soldiers "ducking" a Boer, &c.- the entertainment throughout being one of best that has taken place at Lincoln for many years.

Lincolnshire Chronicle, 26 octobre 1900, p. 8. 

Outre le portrait qui nous est offert, nous avons aussi plusieurs films dont le sujet est rapidement évoqué. Les séances vont durer une semaine complète. L'équipe se rend ensuite à Gainsborough.