Rectangular Virginals

1642 (made)
Rectangular Virginals thumbnail 1
Rectangular Virginals thumbnail 2
+9
images
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
Not currently on display at the V&A
On display at the Horniman Museum, London
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This virginal was made in 1642 by Thomas White of Old Jewry, London, who died in 1660. This is the second oldest dated English virginal to survive. Like other English examples of this time, this virginal is decorated with a naively painted landscape, and the soundboard is decorated with flowers like contemporary examples from Antwerp. The virginal--the name is of uncertain derivation--is a keyboard instrument that can be either rectangular or polygonal, and its strings, which are plucked by quills, run roughly parallel to the keyboard.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Joined oak case and spruce soundboard with cedar moulding; soundboard and insides of both lids painted; gilt embossed paper decoration above and at sides of keyboard; gilt leather rosette
Brief Description
English, 1642, Thomas White
Physical Description
The case, drop front, and domed lid are of oak, undecorated on the outside. The fancy hinges and hasps are of iron. Within is the decoration typical of the seventeenth-century English virginal. The lid and drop-front bear paintings showing peasants hay-making and gentry promenading. The interior of the virginals and the front are decorated with embossed and gilded paper. There are borders and small panels of painted scrollwork.
Dimensions
  • Length: 165.4cm
  • Width: 52.3cm
  • Height: 52.5cm
  • Whole weight: 23kg
Production typeUnique
Marks and Inscriptions
Thomas White fecit 1642 (1) Decoration 2) Signature; Latin; On the front of the jack-rail; Inscribed; paint; White, Thomas; 1642)
Gallery Label
VIRGINAL By Thomas White, London, 1642 Sides and lid oak, soundboard spruce. The inside, particularly the soundboard and keyboard, are decorated in the Flemish style. Inscribed Thomas White Fecit 1642 Keyboard Catalogue No.: 17 The term "virginals", of uncertain derivation, is applied to rectangular keyboard instruments, plucked with quills, with the strings at right angles to the keyboard. Thomas White was a member of an instrument building family living in Old Jewry, London. He was admitted to the Joiners' Company in 1621 and died in 1660. A few examples by both him and his son James survive. Given by Mrs Ada Deacon. W.11-1933(pre September 2000)
Credit line
Given by Mrs Ada Deacon
Subjects depicted
Summary
This virginal was made in 1642 by Thomas White of Old Jewry, London, who died in 1660. This is the second oldest dated English virginal to survive. Like other English examples of this time, this virginal is decorated with a naively painted landscape, and the soundboard is decorated with flowers like contemporary examples from Antwerp. The virginal--the name is of uncertain derivation--is a keyboard instrument that can be either rectangular or polygonal, and its strings, which are plucked by quills, run roughly parallel to the keyboard.

Bibliographic Reference
Yorke, James - 'Royal Painted furniture in King Charles I's England', in Painted Wood: History and Conservation. Proceedings of a symposium organized by the Wooden Artifacts Group of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works and their Foundation of the AIC, held at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Williamsburg, Virginia, 11-14 November 1994. Getty Conservation Institute, 1998, pp. 120-127, illus. p. 123
Collection
Accession Number
W.11-1933

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record createdMay 16, 2001
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