Art/ Collection/ Art Object

"Royal George" Cello

William Forster (English)
United Kingdom
Spruce, maple, ebony
Height: 28 7/8 in. (73.4 cm) Width: 17 1/4 in. (43.75 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Mona and Bradford Endicott, in honor of Ken Moore, 2016
Accession Number:
Not on view
This instrument was made for the avid cellist George Frederick, Prince of Wales, who was crowned King George IV in 1820 and is one of several cellos known to have been owned by George IV. The instruments of Jacob Stainer and the Amati family influenced Forster’s work, as can be seen in the outline, arching and delicate scroll of this ‘cello. The belly of the instrument is emblazoned with the rotal coat of arms of Great Britain on the upper bout and the Prince of Wales' feathers on the lower bout. The ribs have been painted with the legend "Liberty and Loyalty" in heraldic lettering, repeated on each side.

The instrument is with a fitted wooden coffin case, with brass fittings and a plaque engraved with the Prince of Wales' feathers. The case is similar to that of the Stradivari ‘Batta-Piatigorsky’ cello (L.2013.71a-g) and was probably made by Hill.

Forster II was the most celebrated member of a family dynasty of violin and cello makers and is often referred to as "Royal Forster" because of his clientele. George IV ordered at least two cellos, and his violin-playing younger brother Prince Ernest, the Duke of Cumberland, was also a customer.
Inscription: Painted on the ribs in heraldic lettering: LIBERTY AND LOYALTY
The following painted text encircles the end button: WM. FORSTER, SENR./LONDON
Stamped on lower end of tailpiece: FORSTER
A label is present under the bass sound hole. It reads:
William Forster/Violin Violoncello Tenor and Bowmaker/to their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales/and the Duke of Cumberland London
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