Barrel Organ thumbnail 1
Barrel Organ thumbnail 2
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Not currently on display at the V&A

Barrel Organ

about 1810 (Made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Barrel organs were fitted with organ pipes and bellows, and wound with a crank-handle, which rotated a wooden cylinder or 'barrel' and pumped air as well as controlling its supply to the individual pipes. This process enabled different tunes to be played, and this example contains one barrel, which plays 10 tunes. Barrel organs provided dance music and also hymns for services in domestic chapels.


object details
Category
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Barrel Organ
  • Key
Materials and Techniques
Joined, planed and varnished mahogany case; gilded pipes
Brief Description
English, c. 1810,



to Barrel Organ, 1 old
Physical Description
"Miniature Barrel Organ of Mahogany. It is of rectangular form. The front has in the centre two pointed and curved arches outlined by applied mouldings, each containing five imitation pipes of gilt wood. On either side are narrow panels formed of moulded and filleted members. The base, also moulded, stands on four turned feet. Within is a barrel playing ten tunes, the names of which are inscribed on a piece of paper below the lid" - Registered Description, Victoria & Albert Museum, 29th November 1932.
Dimensions
  • Height: 45cm
  • Width: 42.5cm
  • Depth: 23.5cm
Dimensions taken from Registered Descriptions and also Raymond Russell: Victoria and Albert Museum Catalogue of Musical Instruments. Volume I. Keyboard Instruments. (London, 1968), p. 70
Marks and Inscriptions
1. La Carnaval de Venice 2. La Pantalon 3. La Poule 4. Isle of France 5. La Pasame 6. Vulcan's Cave 7. Polacre 8. Tyrolese Waltz 9. Miss Gayton 10. Danish Waltz (List of ten tunes written on a piece of paper on the inside of the lid of the barrel organ.)
Credit line
Given to the Museum by Mr and Mrs F.W.Crewdson.
Object history
This barrel organ was given to the museum by Mr and Mrs F.W.Crewdson in 1932.
Summary
Barrel organs were fitted with organ pipes and bellows, and wound with a crank-handle, which rotated a wooden cylinder or 'barrel' and pumped air as well as controlling its supply to the individual pipes. This process enabled different tunes to be played, and this example contains one barrel, which plays 10 tunes. Barrel organs provided dance music and also hymns for services in domestic chapels.
Bibliographic Reference
Raymond Russell: Victoria and Albert Museum Catalogue of Musical Instruments. Volume I. Keyboard Instruments. (London, 1968), p. 70.
Collection
Accession Number
W.39:1-1932

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record createdJune 24, 2009
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