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Frank V. de Bellis Collection - Musical Instruments


The Frank V. de Bellis Collection contains a unique selection of musical instruments. The pieces include a Clementi Piano Forte (built in London 1808-09), a Piano (constructed by an unknown German or Austrian maker, ca. 1750-1785), a Virginal (built in Boston by Chickering 1906), a Mandolone (18th Century), and a Chitarra Piano (18th Century).

The Clementi Piano Forte and the virginal are in playing condition and concerts are performed on the Clementi.

The instruments are housed and available at the Frank V. de Bellis Collection, sixth floor of the J. Paul Leonard Library. If you would like to view the instruments or more information, please refer to the Schedule for the Collection’s hours and Contact Information.

Piano Forte

Constructed by a German or Austrian unknown maker, ca. 1750 – 1785, the instrument is similar in design to the clavichords of H. A. Hass, ca. 1750, and Gottfried Horn, ca. 1790. The action is very similar to a Zumpe.

The keyboard has a range of 5 octaves, F - f ‘’’ and the keys are wooden, with natural keys surfaced in ebony and sharp keys surfaced in ivory. The dimensions of case is 8 ˝” high, 4’ 10” long, 18 ˝” front to back. The instrument on its legs stands 2’ 9” high.

Provenance: Gorga Collection, Rome. Italy.

This un-restored instrument is a museum or exhibition instrument and is not used for performance.


The Virginal in the collection was constructed by the Chickering Company of Boston (No. 15) under the supervision of Arnold Dolmetsch, in 1906. Similar in design to instruments built in the 17th century by Ludovicus Grovvelus of Flanders and Andreis Ruckers of Antwerp. Dolmetsch’s leather plectra have been replaced with delrin, plastic which produces a sound closer to quill. The range is C - f ¹¹¹.


An 18th century Italian Mandolone (bass mandolin), this instrument has a lute-shaped body; similar to the Neapolitan mandolin. The Mandolone possibly has an altered neck & 14 strings on 7 courses. [Tuning is normally F° (G°) A° d° g° b° e¹ a¹ ] The neck and peg-box are inlaid in ebony and ivory. Flat rose of parchment and wood, surrounded by mother-of-pearl, ebony, and ivory, & boxwood pegs. The back is in 22 rib-like fluted sections.

This un-restored instrument is a museum or exhibition instrument and is not used for performance.

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