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Victor de Pontigny

revised by Paul Sparks

(b Heilbronn, 1802; d Styria, 1890). German jew's harp and guitar player. After an initial lack of success in his native country, he travelled through Switzerland in 1825–6, eventually arriving in Paris where he worked as a guitar virtuoso. In 1827 his op.1 (a set of 12 airs for solo guitar) was published by Richault in Paris, and in the same year he appeared in London as a guitarist and jew's harpist. He produced extremely beautiful effects by performing on 16 jew's harps, having for many years cultivated this instrument in an extraordinary manner. The patronage of the Duke of Gordon induced him to return to London in 1828; but he soon found that the iron jew's harp had so injured his teeth that he could not play without pain, and he therefore spent more time playing the guitar. At length a dentist devised a glutinous covering for his teeth, which enabled him to play his jew's harp again. He was very successful in Scotland and thence went to Bath (...