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"The case is of walnut, in sarcophagus form resting on four small turned and carved feet, possibly replacements at a later date. .... The case is carved [on the outside] in relief with trophies of arms and of musical instruments in a decidedly Italinate manner. In the centre [on the inside] above the keyboard.there is a cartouche on which is carved a nude figure holding a viola da gamba. Above the keyboard and on the sides of the lid are fine strapwork compositions. The one on the [outside of the] lid frames the arms of William, Duke of Cleves, Berg and Jülich (1516-1592) .... The interior of the lid is decorated on a blue ground with gold strapwork ... In the centre is a medallion depicting Orpheus charming the wild beasts. The soundboard, presumably of spruce, is painted in gouache with flopwers in the earliest identifiable painting style used on Flemish harpsichords .... the rose, now unfortunately missing, measured about 70 mm in diameter." - Howard Schott: Catalogue of Musical Instruments in the Victoria and Albert Museum - Part I: Keyboard instruments. (London, 1998), pp. 26-27.

  • Culture:
  • Period:
  • Materials:Carved walnut case; painted and gilded inside of the lid; painted sprunce soundboard.
  • Specific materials/techniques:
  • Decorative elements:
  • Inscriptions:MVSICA DISPARIVM DULCIS CONCORDIA and PELLO LEVO PLACO TRISTIA CORDA DEOS 'Music the seet harmony of unequal [notes]' and 'I drive, I lighten I placate the sad strings and the Gods'. MUSICA NUNC DIGNAS HABITET SVA PROIMIA LAVRUS/ NITIT HONORE SVAS PRETIO SVPERATQUE SORORES PRORSVS ET IMMENSVM PROPELLIT LVMINA CORDI. Let Music now live in worthy halls and its reward, the laurel wreath, shine with honour and prevail utterly over her sister [muses], and bring forth the light with a string. LAUDATE DOMINUM IN CHORDIS ET IN ORGANO. Praise the Lord with the Strings and the Organ LAUS DEO Praise [be] to God OMNIS SPIRITVS LAVDET DOMINVS [sic] 1568 Let every spirit praise the Lord. MUSICA TURBATOS SENSUS ANIMOSQUE REMOVET Music removes disturbed senses and moods.
  • Hornbostel-Sachs category:
  • Repository:Victoria and Albert Museum
  • Measurements:Height: 27.5 cm, Length: 163 cm, Width: 56.3 cm, Weight: kg 47