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Octave spinet

'The spinet can be removed from its outer case. The cypress is painted black, on which gold ground decoration is applied. There are sparse arabesques on the inner faces and a delicate arcaded pattern of portière motifs with figures on the panel behind the keyboard. Gilded cherubs form the key-blocks at the ends of the keyboard. The outer case, painted plain brown without, bears two paintings within on the lid and falling front. The larger painting shows a mythological scene, including a large ship and a merfolk. On the smaller hinged flap are depicted a number of dancing figures and musical trophies. (Some draperies added to the nude figures, presumably out of prudery, at some later date, were removed when the case was cleaned in 1964.) The outer case has a lining of cloth to protect the spinet as it is removed and replaced. The nameboard and mouldings are ebony, as is the jack-rail on which traces of the former decoration can still be discerned.' Howard Schott, Catalogue of Musical Instruments in the Victoria and Albert Museum - Part I: Keyboard Instruments(London, 1978), p.46.

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  • Materials:Cypress body and soundboard, with sycamore bridge and pearwood wrest-plank; painted inside of lid and board above keys, with carved and gilded putti at each end of the keyboard
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  • Repository:Victoria and Albert Museum
  • Measurements:Length: 71 cm front, Length: 75.6 cm back, Length: 162 cm bass end, Length: 43 cm treble end