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date: 19 November 2019

Townsend, Gabriel locked

  • Anne Beetem Acker


(bc1604; d London, c1662). English virginal maker. He apprenticed with Thomas White, becoming a freeman of the Joiners’ Company in London in 1624/1625, and a master in 1657/1658. His apprentices included Stephen Keene and John Player. Townsend probably died by 1662 as Keene was admitted free of the Joiners’ Company through sponsorship by Player rather than their master Townsend. One instrument by Townsend survives (1641, B.B.mim), a typical English rectangular virginal with coffered lid, made for Elizabeth (Stuart) of Bohemia, daughter of James I and sister of King Charles I. It bears the Plantagenet arms under the initials ‘E.R.’ in the repeated pattern in the embossed gilded papers in the keywell and above the soundboard. As is typical of English virginals, it is plain on the outside and richly decorated inside. The interior lid painting depicts Orpheus (who bears a striking resemblance to Charles I) with his lyre, charming the beasts and trees. The keyboard cover painting shows ships at sea and a courtly group on an island....

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