John Crang (British, North Molton, Devon, England 1710–ca. 1774 London)
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.)
Rogers Fund and funds from various donors, 1976
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.