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spinet, octave

Object / Artefact › Applied Arts and Design
  • Other titles
    • octavina
    • ottavina
    • virginal
  • Description
    spinet, the body and stand are painted green with gold edges. Standing frame with four legs, three screws connect to the body, hinged lid divided into two parts. Three metal hinges connect lid to spine and three metal hinges connect the two parts of the lid. The front part of the lid folds right back and forms the music stand. 49 wooden keys, 20 sharp black, 29 natural keys. Tuning plank sound board and bridge are complete. Brass keys on sound board have inscribed notes beside them. Each natural key on front edge has a carved arch

    1 octave spinet
    Arnold Dolmetsch workshop, Haslemere, Surrey, England, 1936
    walnut, boxwood, ebony, brass, 785 x 760 x 480 mm
    stamped ‘ARNOLD DOLMETSCH / 122’
    1998.60.1 Castle 1


    This octave spinet was one of the first ‘working instruments’ that Ronald and Zillah Castle purchased.

    Ordered directly from the Dolmetsch workshop in Haslemere, it arrived in New Zealand in 1938. ‘After a rather disastrous sea voyage’ it had to be repaired by Ronald Castle.

    Played by almost exclusively by Ronald, he recorded that this instrument ‘was the first virginal used by the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation [for a] live broadcast by the Castles playing Handel in 1938’.

    The influence of Arnold Dolmetsch and his early music crusade on the primary shape of the collection is considerable.

    There a number of instruments recorded as being owned by Arnold Dolmetsch or made in his workshops included in the collection. During her time as a student in London, Zillah was almost certainly aware of the early music revival led by Dolmetsch and the annual music festivals at held at his Haslemere estate.

    It is fascinating to consider the similarities of this octave spinet with one of the first instruments made by Arnold Dolmetsch, the ‘green harpsichord’. It was
    ‘made at the suggestion of William Morris for the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society show in the New Gallery, London in 1896. Lettering above the keyboard was designed by Herbert Horne. The exterior decoration could not be completed in time for the exhibition and the temporary expedient of plain green lacquer was not replaced.’

    This octave spinet was the first item to be catalogued into the Castle Collection of Early Instruments and Music in 1957.

    This octave spinet was the first item to be catalogued into the Castle Collection of Early Instruments and Music in 1957.

    The spinet was also one of the first ‘working instruments’ that Ronald and Zillah Castle purchased. Ordered directly from the Dolmetsch workshop in Haslemere, it arrived in New Zealand in 1938. ‘After a rather disastrous sea voyage’ it had to be repaired by Ronald Castle.

    Played by Ronald it was used in the Castle’s performances to introduce early music to New Zealand audiences. Ronald recorded that this instrument ‘was the first virginal used by the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation [for a] live broadcast by the Castle’s playing Handel in 1938’.

    During her period as a student at the Royal College of Music, London in the mid 1930s Zillah was aware of the early music revival lead by Arnold Dolmetsch and his annual music festivals at Haslemere.

    There a number of instruments made by the Dolmetsch workshops in the collection. Arnold Dolmetsch and his children corresponded regularly with Ronald, Zillah and their sister Mona. The influence of Arnold Dolmetsch and his early music crusade on the primary shape of the collection is considerable.

    It is interesting to consider that the first instrument made by Arnold Dolmetsch was the ‘green harpsichord’ which was ‘made at the suggestion of William Morris for the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society show in the New Gallery, London in 1896. Lettering above the keyboard was designed by Herbert Horne. The exterior decoration could not be completed in time for the exhibition and the temporary expedient of plain green lacquer was not replaced.’
  • Place
  • Other Number
    1, 1998.60.1
  • Accession number
    1998.60.1
  • Accession date
    10 October 1998
  • Collection area
  • Item count
    1
  • Record richness
Uncaptioned
Uncaptioned

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