A Wonderful c.1850s Black Painted Cello Case; R.Macleay Esq. by S.A.Forster Soho Sq. London

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Origin: English
Period: Early Victorian
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1840-60
Height: 51”
Width: 19”
Depth: 13”

Designed to be portable, yet strong, the black painted cello case formerly of the estate of a certain R.Macleay whose name is painted in the original painted lettering, with an older owner, whose name is undecipherable beneath it (C.N.Ba??), the whole retaining the original fitted interior with turquoise blue felt lining, turned stays for the bow and two small hinged door compartments, the interior with original paper label from the instrument maker S.A Forster of Soho Square, London.

In good overall order, the two small interior compartment doors are loose and the lock is missing, though otherwise it proves to be in good unrestored condition with original brass handles, hinges and catches. The painted finish is totally original and has a beautiful patination and craquluered surface. There are knocks and chips that one would expect. There are also the remnants of an old 19thC shipping label to the reverse of the case.

Simon Andrew Forster (1801 – 1870) was the son of the rather better known violin maker William Forster (1739 – 1808) and co-author with S. A. Sandys of The History of the Violin (1864). He was a pupil of his father and of Samuel Gilkes and he studied music and was a chorister at Westminster Abbey between 1811-1817. His business was established in Frith Street, Soho; and later in Macclesfield Street, Soho. His instruments are dated from 1828 to 1840 and fall into two categories: lesser examples bearing a spirit varnish signed "Forster," and higher quality ones signed, "S.A. Forster London" and numbered by the endpin. His output includes violins, violas, cellos, and at least one double bass, however he is most recognized as his family's autobiographer.

We do not have any further information as to whom the owner, R.Macleay, of this case was. The former owner to R.Macleay is perhaps more intriguing since it would have been theirs originally but one can only make out C.N.B.a?? though this would be if interest to research further.

This tactile piece simply demands to be stood in a corner of a room and admired. Beautifully sculptural.

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