Instrument Collections

This is a short list of early keyboard instrument collections in or near the UK. For a fuller list see Donald Boalch, Makers of the Harpsichord and Clavichord 1440-1840.


The Russell Collection, St Cecilia's Hall, Niddry Street, Cowgate, Edinburgh EH1 1LJ, telephone 0131 667 1011. The best collection in the UK, containing most of the instruments described in Russell's book plus some others. Restricted opening hours. Plans and photographs of many of the instruments are available for purchase.

Benton Fletcher Collection, Fenton House, Hampstead Grove, London NW3, telephone 0171 435 3471. A playing collection, mostly of English instruments. The house, owned by the National Trust, also contains fine old furniture. Restricted opening hours.

Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7, telephone 0171 938 8500. Flemish instruments, and a child's harpsichord by Taskin. Publishes plans.

Royal College of Music, Prince Consort Road, London SW7, telephone 0171 589 3643. Has a small collection including Italian and English instruments, which is under threat of dispersal. Restricted opening hours.


Gemeente Museum, The Hague. Houses a collection mostly of Flemish virginals and harpsichords.


Vleeshuis Museum, Antwerp. In the historic butchers' guild hall. Antwerp was the home of the Ruckers family and other Flemish makers, and the museum houses a number of their instruments. Publishes plans, photographs, and reproduction Flemish papers.

Conservatoire Royal de Musique, Brussels. An extensive collection, though many of the instruments are not on public display.


Conservatoire de Musique, Paris. A large collection, mostly of French instruments.