Designer Arnold Dolmetsch French (active Britain)
Manufacturer Chickering & Sons American

Not on view

Arnold Dolmetsch is regarded as an important figure in the early movement for historically informed performance practice. Born in France, Dolmetsch studied music in Brussels and then in London. He exhibited a harpsichord at London's Arts and Crafts Exhibition of 1896. He accepted a position with Chickering & Sons piano company in Boston where he worked from 1904 until 1911 supervising the building period instruments including harpsichords, clavichords, lutes, and viols.

The Museum's virginal was built at the Chickering factory and is based on historic Flemish models. It is a double strung instrument with a compass of 4-1/2 octaves. The exterior of its case is a plain rectangular wooden case that has been painted black with imitation crackle effect. The stand includes a stretcher connecting the four outside legs. The front of the case and inside the key well and back wall are decorated with oiled, varnished paper painted in black with scrollwork design. Ebony natural topped keys with gilded wood fonts. Ivory topped accidental keys.

Technical description: Reconstruction of early Flemish original; double strung; compass 4-1/2 octaves C to F; plain rectangular wooden case (a) painted black, with imitation crackle effect; set into stand (b) by wooden pegs; stand of wood, painted black; on eight turned legs; four outside legs connected by lengthwise stretcher; front of case and inside rim covered with oiled, varnished paper painted in black with design of scrollwork, with egg and dart borders; inside of lid painted greenish-black with imitation crackle effect; three long shaped brass hinges connecting lid to case; soundhole, pierced, carved, and gilded circular medallion with rose, encircled by painted border of green leaves interspersed with five red buds, all outlined in black ivory sharps; ebony naturals, fronts of which faced with gilded wood; plain hinged wooden music rest, also acts as support for lid when open, key (c) of steel with ivory handle. (W. Winternitz 1984)

Virginal, Arnold Dolmetsch (French, born Le Mans, France 1858–1940 Haslemere, Surrey, England)  , Chickering & Sons, Wood, brass, ebony, ivory, American

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