314.122-6-8 True board zithers with resonator box (box zithers) sounded by plectrum, with keyboard

Octave virginals consisting of ebony veneer, applied silver ornament, enamel medallions and a spruce soundboard. Compass of 38 notes, G-g", a" (lacking g"-sharp). The instrument has two hidden compartments, one in the lid which forms part of a sloping writing-desk, and the other in the sturdy plinth, which is fitted to hold writing materials. The virginals bears some resemblance to another writing case instrument by Samuel Bidermann the Younger of Augsburg (1600-c.1661) which includes an automatic playing mechanism. Lavishly decorated octavinos like this may have been commissioned as wedding gifts or ostentatious curios. Played by women, some were designed to serve also as writing desks, sewing or jewel boxes.
V&A object number: 4265-1857.

This virginals bears some resemblance to another writing case instrument in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York) by Samuel Bidermann the Younger of Augsburg (1600-c.1661) which also includes an automatic playing mechanism. Lavishly decorated octavinos like this may have been commissioned as wedding gifts or ostentatious curios. Played by women, some were designed to serve also as writing desks, sewing or jewel boxes.

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