Chelveston 2019

Saturday April 13th

Some of the Instruments

Karin Richter brought her beautiful clavichord to Chelveston in 2018, but we did not have time to appreciate it properly.  It now has its correct stand. 

I'll be asking Karin to say a few words about it, and we look forward to hearing some music.



The pianos of Adam Beyer demonstrate a remarkable standard of craftsmanship.  This example belongs to David Hunt, and will be appearing in unrestored condition.   It  will demonstrate some of the decisions and challenges that we face as restorers.

If there is room,  I might bring my own 'Viennese' grand piano along for what will probably be its only ever outing.  So far, it has literally never moved - it stands exactly where it was built.  It might not be the best piano in the world, but it is the best one in Chelveston, and it was a lot of fun to make; I hope to share this enjoyment with you.  Its life began in a local sawmill, where I bought the huge cherry tree from which the case is made.  It does work, and perhaps someone would like to play a tune for us?


The 'Revival' instruments have been with us for the best part of a hundred years now, and having been deeply unfashionable since about 1970, there are now signs that they are possibly due for a revival of their own.  The best of them were beautifully constructed and durable, and Olaf van Hees has recently refurbished and decorated this Morley virginal.  This will be a chance for us to hear the result, and no doubt there will be a lively discussion!  


Graham Walker has recently completed the restoration of an early Ganer, and he has promised to bring it as the focus for a discussion on hammer-leather.

We can now reveal the identity of the Mystery Piano!  It is the beautiful 1775 Pringle that was sold at auction late last year.  Archibald Pringle is recorded as a maker of spinets; one or possibly two of his instruments survive in the USA.  This, the only known piano, shares the 'skunk-tail' sharps often found on earlier spinets.

Rumours about the '1664' Edward Blunt spinet,  misled historians including Hipkins, James, Russell, Boalch, Mould,and Mole.  It's reappearance at auction in 2015, after more than a century in hiding, enabled us to set the record straight, and to make a replicas.  this is the first replica, the second one is with the new Carolina Music Museum.


Hitchcock spinets have either a straight nut, like the one above, or a nut which is convex towards the player; this gives a more flutey tone, due to the deeper plucking point.  This one was made by Mark Stevenson in 1980.

Representing 'Revival' spinets will be this example by John Storrs.

There will be other square pianos there as well, including this example by the important maker William Southwell.

... and this lovely Beyer.

The papers presented at our 2017 Spinet Day are still available:

Harpsichords and Spinets shown at the In[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [1.2 MB]
The Spinets of the Hitchcock Dynasty - P[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [917.8 KB]
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