Music and Instruments of the Elizabethan Age: The Eglantine Table

Music and Instruments of the Elizabethan Age: The Eglantine Table
Ed. Michael Fleming and Christopher Page
The Boydel Press, Woodbridge, 2021
Hardback, 310 pages, 245x176x31mm, ISBN 978 1 78327 4212


Visitors to the National Trust’s Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire (architect Robert Smythson’s Renaissance masterpiece of “more glass than wall” fame) may have noticed a large highly decorated table in the bay window of the spectacular upper floor High Great Chamber. This is the Eglantine Table (or Aeglentyne), probably commissioned for the 1568 marriage of Bess of Hardwick to her fourth husband, the Earl of Shrewsbury, followed the year after by the marriage of her two children to his two. The 3.0mx1.3m oak table includes detailed inlaid depictions of a lute, bowed instruments, recorders and other wind instruments, a gittern and cittern, together with sheet music, playing cards, backgammon and other gaming boards, and various armorial devices, including the aeglentyne/eglantine, a white briar rose.

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Catalina Vicens: ‘Cembalo Transalpino’

Catalina Vicens (c1622 harpsichord & 1664 virginals)
The Cobbe Collection, Hatchlands Park, East Sussex. 10 June 2015.

With the sponsorship and encouragement of the Keyboard Charitable Trust, the talented Chilean early keyboard player Catalina Vicens gave an outstanding lunchtime concert at Hatchlands, the National Trust home of The Cobbe Collection of historic keyboard instruments. Her short UK tour continues with two London concerts, tomorrow (11 June) in the Handel House Museum , and on Friday (12 June) at Fenton House.

Catalina VicensCatalina’s Hatchlands recital explored the influence of Italian Renaissance keyboard music on late 16th and early 17th century English music, focussing on some of the first music publications. England was just one of the countries that fell under the spell of Italian music and musicians as they ventured north over the Alps. Usefully played in chronological order, Catalina’s programme also provided a fascinating insight into the early development of keyboard music itself.

She started with Italian pieces played on the harpsichord attributed to Girolamo Zenti, dated 1622. Zenti also worked  in England for Charles II, so it was appropriate that the second part of the concert was played on the 1664 John Player virginals from Charles II’s Whitehall Palace.  This early repertoire includes many  Continue reading