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Walnut spinet, c.1680. § The instrument has a walnut case of pentagonal wing-shaped form with brass ornamental hinges. Above the keyboard in inked letters is STEPHANUS KEENE LONDINI FECIT centering on a marquetry panel of flowers and birds. The stand also of walnut has four baluster turned legs connected by H stretchers of rectangular section. § Although first mentioned in Europe in 1496, this form of plucked keyboard instrument seems to only have been drawn to our attention in the mid 17th Century, probably via the strengthening Flemish influence of the period. Samuel Pepys, who bought one in 1668 for £5, referred to it as 'the triangel virginall'. The form had developed in late 15th Century Italy, the reason for the name 'Spinetta' being variously attributed to the new substitution of quills (or spines) for the earlier wood or leather plectra at that time, or being after the contemporary instrument maker Giovanni Spina.

  • Maker:
    Keene, Stephen [Person]
  • Collection:
    National Trust, Westwood Manor
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  • Place of production:
    London (Timezone: Europe/London)
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  • Repository:National Trust, Westwood Manor