Author Archives: jnex

Early English Cello

We are very excited to have a new loan join us – an early English cello.  Although it doesn’t have a label, it is probably by one of the highly skilled makers working in the vicinity of St Paul’s Cathedral in London during the seventeenth century.   Barak Norman is the current attribution, but we will be undertaking research based on its construction and decoration and may find that it is in fact by someone of the previous generation such as Richard Meares.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe cello will be on display at the Reid Concert Hall Museum from this week and will also be part of the new displays at St Cecilia’s Hall in due course.  The instrument is in playing condition and we are thrilled to have permission from the owner for it to be used in concerts and for demonstrations.

The decant is complete

We have finished emptying St Cecilia’s Hall after a great deal of hard work and have left the building in the extremely capable hands of our Project Manager.  Now the surveyors can get to grips with the fundamentals of the building so that we know exactly what needs to be done before the serious building work begins.  Things look a little sad, but its exciting to think about the transformation which will happen in the next 2 years.



We have all been rehoused in the main Library and the Library Annexe as well as the Reid Concert Hall and Museum, and are getting used to our new locations.  Now that the central MIMEd team is in three different locations, we will have to work much harder to arrange our usual coffee and cake ‘meetings’!  It feels odd not going to St Cecilia’s every day, but we will get used to it and its great to be at this stage of the project.

Instruments decanted

All of the instruments have now been safely decanted from St Cecilia’s Hall.  Under Jonathan and Darryl’s watchful gaze, the men from Constantine worked carefully and finished ahead of schedule.


Most of the keyboard instruments are now safely in store and we are grateful to colleagues in Special Collections for sharing their space with us.  A couple of the smaller instruments will be slotted in at the Reid Concert Hall Museum so that our keyboards are not completely out of sight during redevelopment.  Many thanks to all for making this stage of the process go smoothly.


The Euphonicon was perhaps the hardest instrument to get out as it is both tall and extremely heavy.



We are now well in to the decanting process and some of our much loved loans of works of art have gone back to their owners.


The clock, lent by the National Trust, has been carefully packed and returned to London and the paintings and prints from the National Gallery of Scotland have been collected.

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We are very grateful to everyone who has loaned us items over the years which have helped to give St Cecilia’s Hall its period feel.  The hall is looking rather bare now but we are at an exciting stage and things are moving along quickly.

Festival Concerts

We are looking forward to the last Festival before we close for redevelopment, and the fantastic series of concerts being organised by the Friends of St Cecilia’s Hall. We have five 3 o’clock concerts lined up:
John Kitchen plays the 1678 Garracino virginal (shown above) on 13 August
‘De La Guitarra’: Stephen Morrison and Gordon Ferries play guitar music by Carulli, Beethoven and others on 16 August
The woodwind and keyboard ensemble ‘Arborea Musica’ celebrate Italians in London using the 1764 Hass harpsichord in its 250th year on 20 August
Ksenia Semenova, winner of the 2013 Volkonsky International Harpsichord Competition, plays Bach, Handel and D Scarlatti on 23 August
The Gilbert Elliott Duo explore repertoire for flute and harpsichord from 18th-century Scotland on 27 August

You can also enjoy the Edinburgh Renaissance Band’s Viol Rackett Show.

For more information about the collection and the instruments featured, see

For tickets, visit the Edinburgh Festival Fringe website