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Bentside spinet

Bentside spinet

  • Place of origin:

    London (Made)

  • Date:

    1771 (Made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Mahoon, Joseph (Made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Solid mahogany case with sycamore stringing, walnut-veneered nameboard, brass hinges, ivory naturals and ebony sharps covered with strips of ivory on the top, in a pattern known as 'skunk-tail'.

  • Museum number:

    383-1907

  • Gallery location:

    On display at the Horniman Museum, London []

In 1729 Joseph Mahoon (fl.1729-1773) was appointed 'Harpsichord Maker to His Majestie' (King George II, who reigned from 1725 to 1760). Mahoon's keyboard instruments were much sought-after, and a harpsichord with his signature features in the Morning Levee in William Hogarth's moralizing series of paintings The Rake's Progress, 1735, (London, Sir John Soane Museum).

Physical description

Spinet, with a range of sixty-one notes, GG-g3. The naturals have ivory covers and arcaded fronts, and on the top of the ebony sharps are strips of ivory, in a pattern known as 'skunk-tail'. The case is of solid mahogany, and is cross-banded with sycamore stringing. The nameboard is made up of walnut panels with sycamore stringing.

Place of Origin

London (Made)

Date

1771 (Made)

Artist/maker

Mahoon, Joseph (Made)

Materials and Techniques

Solid mahogany case with sycamore stringing, walnut-veneered nameboard, brass hinges, ivory naturals and ebony sharps covered with strips of ivory on the top, in a pattern known as 'skunk-tail'.

Marks and inscriptions

Joseph Mahoon, London
On the name-board above the keys.

Dimensions

Length: 152.5 cm maximum, Width: 78 cm maximum, Height: 21.4 cm Height without stand, Height: 87.9 cm Height with stand, Weight: 33.5 kg

Object history note

This spinet was purchased by the Museum in 1907, but the price and previous ownership were not recorded.

Descriptive line

Bentside spinet, solid mahogany case with sycamore stringing, ebony and ivory 'skunk-tail' sharps, Joseph Mahoon, English, 1771.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Howard Schott: Catalogue of Musical Instruments in the Victoria and Albert Museum - Part I: Keyboard instruments. (London, 1998), pp. 87-88.

Labels and date

SPINET
English
By Joseph Mahoon, London, 1771
Inscribed Joseph Mahoon, London
The date is on the bottom key.
Ebony sharps with ivory fillets, ivory naturals, mahogany case with sycamore cross-banding. The instrument has sixty-one notes, GG-g3.

Keyboard Catalogue No.: 31

Joseph Mahoon flourished form 1729, when he was appointed "Harpsichord Maker to His Majesty", until 1771, the instrument in the V&A being the last known example to be made. A Mahoon harpsichord can be seen in plate 2 of William Hogarth's Rake's Progress.

383-1907 [pre September 2000]

Materials

Mahogany; Sycamore; Walnut; Brass

Techniques

Planing; Stringing; Veneering

Categories

Musical instruments

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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