Text Box: LUTENIST autographs


Phone: 212-860-5541


Price: $650.00



Autographed Wendt of Boonton, New Jersey cabinet photograph of Dolmetsch posed with his lute and in his velvet period costume and white embroidered stock.

Dolmetsch (1858-1940) was a leader in the world of early instrument performance and instrument building.† Born in France to a family of piano and organ builders and refurbishers, he began piano lessons at the age of four and slightly later violin lessons.† He joined the family piano-organ business in 1874 upon the death of his father.† He courted a woman a decade older than himself in 1878, after she gave birth to their daughter, he married her in London.† The following year the family moved to Brussels so he could study violin with Vieuxtemps.† He also studied at the Conservatoire, where his harmony professor was Maurice Kufferath who was not much older than himself, his piano professor was Arthur de Greef and his composition professor was FranÁois-August Gaevart.† He also taught himself to play the viola díamore.† He left in 1883 to return to London for further study at the Royal College of Music, where his professors were Henry Holmes (violin), Frederick Bridge (harmony and counterpoint) and Hubert Parry (composition).† He left the RCM in 1885 becoming an assistant violin professor at Dulwich College.† At this point, he began researching early music in earnest, copying from the RCM library.† He also began work as a lutenist and also taught his wife and daughter how to play various early instruments.† Once the family and a few friends were ready, he began to produce concerts of Elizabethan music.† It was at about the same time, the Casadesus family and Louis Diťmer began to produce early music concerts in Paris.† In 1890 Bridge gave lecture on early British composerís and he asked Dolmetsch to join him at Gresham College in November, 1890 to perform pieces during the lecture.† It was the first time many of those composerís like, Bull, Byrd, Lawes, Locke and Purcell† had been heard in England in centuries. In April 1891 he was invited to give a concert of early music in London which he entitled, ďConcert of Ancient Music of the XVI and XVII CenturiesĒ.† The concert was made up of a band including 2 vocalists, viols, lute and harpsichord.† After this concert, George Bernard Shaw, a music critic at the time became a fan. Shaw and his wife separated in 1893 and he began to live with his sister-in-law and when his divorce was final in 1899, he married his sister-in-law Elodie, who was already an excellent keyboardist.† In 1903, Dolmetch, Elodie and Mabel Johnson, a viola da gamba and viol player.† He divorced Elodie whilst in America and married Mabel.† He then took on a pupil named Kathleen Solomon as his harpsichordist. From 1904-1905, at the time the photograph was taken, the family toured America, settling in Boston at the end of the tour where he was put in charge of the manufacturing of early instruments including harpsichords, clavichords, violins and lutes for Chickering.† The family lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts through 1911, when he went back to France to handle the same sort of manufacturing with Gaveau.† He returned to England in 1914, where he set up his own workshop of early instruments manufacturing in Haslemere.† He created the first modern recorder in 1918.† In 1925 he created the Haslemere Festival so he and his burgeoning family could produce early music. Highly successful in the field, his pupils and wealthy friends and benefactors set up the Dolmetsch Foundation in 1927 to promote early music in Great Britain.† For the rest of his life, he would perform on a variety of instruments in concert, produce volumes on early music and oversea his workshop.

One of the true pioneers of early music in the late 19th Century and into the 20th Century.

A note on the photographer, Frank Wendt (1858-1930) was an American photographer in Booton, New Jersey.† Wendt studied photography with Charles Eisenmann, the noted photographer of circus freaks, like Barnumís famous sideshow acts. With a studio in the Bowery in New York City.† Wendt continued with the practice of photographing these performers when they came through Boonton, New Jersey and was noted for concentrating on the trait that made each performer famous. Many of his photographs are today in the archived of the International Center of Photography in Manhattan. The fact that Dolmetsch sat for him makes this image highly ususual!


A truly scarce autographed photograph.