Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Bentside Spinet

John Crang (British, North Molton, Devon, England 1710–ca. 1774 London)
London, England
Wood and various materials
L. case along spine (not including moulding): ca. 99 cm: (39 in.); D. case (not including lid): ca. 22.7 cm (9 in.)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund and funds from various donors, 1976
Accession Number:
1976.177a, b
Not on view
In England, the bentside spinet was a favorite domestic keyboard instrument since it takes up less room than the harpsichord, is less complicated to maintain and produces a powerful tone. John Crang was considered to be one of the finest makers of spinets, but only two of his instruments survive today. This is the older example of his work and has a five octave range (GG-g3) with natural keys re-covered with ebony or stained rosewood and ivory topped accidentals. The case is beautifully veneered and the inlaid nameboard has a traditional Latin motto that reads "Musica Laborum Dulce Levamen" and translates as "Music is a sweet relief for labors."
Marking: 1] (signed above keyboard) Crang Londini Fecit

2] (above this the inscribed motto) Musica Laborum Dulce Levamen

3] (date placed below a trophy of musical instruments in marquetry) 1753

4] (stamped in various places) serial number 3
Makers of the Harpsichord and Clavichord 1440-1840. Donald H. Boalch and Charles Mould, 1991, Oxford University Press. Oxford, 1995, pg. 278.

"Keyboard Instruments." Summer. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (1989), Vol. 47, No. 1, pg. 26-27, ill.

"Notable Acquisitions 1975-1979: Musical Instruments." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (1979), pg. 45, ill.

Related Objects

Viola da Gamba

Artist: labeled Richard Meares (British, London 1647–1725 London) Date: ca. 1680 Medium: Spruce, ebony, maple Accession: 1982.324 On view in:Not on view

Grand Pianoforte

Artist: Érard (French, ca. 1780–1959) , made in London Date: ca. 1840 Medium: Satinwood veneer, oak, spruce, iron, steel, ebony, ivory, gilding, mother-of-pearl, holly, mahogany, burl walnut, tulipwood, silver wire Accession: 59.76 On view in:Not on view

Bass Viola da Gamba

Artist: Attributed to Barak Norman (British, 1651–1724 London) Date: 1692 Medium: Wood Accession: 1990.223 On view in:Not on view


Date: 1540 Medium: Wood, parchment, ivory, paint Accession: 53.6a, b On view in:Not on view

Bentside Spinet

Artist: Thomas Hitchcock (British, London ca. 1685–after 1733 London) Date: ca. 1700 Medium: Wood, various materials Accession: 89.2.164 On view in:Not on view