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Allegorical composition for the lid of a harpsichord: PD.7-1954

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Awaiting location update


Allegorical composition for the lid of a harpsichord


Draughtsman: Thornhill, James




History note: H.S Reitlinger (Lugt 2274a), his Sale, Sotheby's, 26 May, 1954, part VI, lot 591 (£75)

Measurements and weight

Height: 219 mm
Width: 440 mm

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1954) by The Friends of the Fitzwilliam Museum

School or Style


Materials used in production

Brown ink
Red chalk

Components of the work

Support composed of paper

Techniques used in production

Drawing : Red chalk and traces of graphite, pen and brown ink over traces of incised line, on paper

Inscription or legends present

  • Text: Peace introduces Arts & Sciences, who sacrifices to Apollo & c. / Contention twixt Apollo & Pan determined by Midas. / Contest between ye Muses & Pierides, / Apollo & ye 9 Muses, Mercury, Helicon & c. / The Muses punish Thamyris, for his insolence in contending wth them. / K:Pyreneus endeavours to ravish ye Muses, they change themselves / into birds & escape (in Thornhill's hand)
  • Location: Recto
  • Method of creation: Pen and brown ink
  • Text: Apollo, inventr of Physick, Muscik, Poetry, Rhetoric / The Muses show Minerva, Helicon, Ovid m 35 (?). / Jupiter or ye Divine mind inspires Apollo, he the Muses, the thei(r)? / ofspring.(sic) Ovid p. 96 / The Muse Clio relates to Minerva / The story of ye Pierides being vanquisht. / The Muses vanquish ye Sirens, & pull their feathers / 4 Arts ascribed to Apollo, Musick, Archery, Physick, Poetry. / The 3 sister Arts, Painting, Poesy & Musick, offer tribute to Apollo. introd. by Mercury, by Helicon, Little Genii of those Sciences (in Thornhill's hand)
  • Location: To right
  • Method of creation: Pen and brown ink

Inscription present: beneath a scale to show proportions

  • Text: Mr. Handel has (or had) the Harpsichord this design was made for.
  • Location: Below
  • Method of creation: Brown ink
  • Text: Jas Thornhill
  • Location: Lower left
  • Method of creation: Graphite
  • Text: ... / Peace ... / ..... (illegible)
  • Location: Centre, below the inscription
  • Method of creation: Pen and ink
  • Text: ... / ... / ... / 3 Sister / Arts / Painting / Poes(y?) / Musick / Sacr to Apoll / Muses & (?divine) / at Helicon s(pring?)
  • Location: To the right, below the inscription
  • Method of creation: Pen and ink
  • Text: The punishment of Thamyris by ye Muses / Apollo Pan & Midas / The 4 Arts ascribed to Apollo. / Pierides contest with ye Muses & c. / Arts & Sciences sacrifice to Apollo, introd: by peace & c.
  • Location: Verso
  • Method of creation: Pen and brown ink
  • Text: Sir J. Thornhill. / Design for Handel's Harpsichord
  • Location: Verso
  • Method of creation: Graphite

Identification numbers

Accession number: PD.7-1954
Primary reference Number: 13813
Lugt: 2274a
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 3 August 2020 Last processed: Tuesday 13 June 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Paintings, Drawings and Prints

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Allegorical composition for the lid of a harpsichord" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-02-24 07:38:12

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{{cite web|url= |title=Allegorical composition for the lid of a harpsichord |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-02-24 07:38:12|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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