The Madame Sidney Pratten collection of guitars and related ...

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Hammer

£30000

Fees

The Madame Sidney Pratten collection of guitars and related ephemera, including seven antique guitars, a Gigelira, personal sheet music with hand annotations, an original watercolour picture of a young Madame Sidney Pratten (Katharina Josefa Pelzer) and a further collection of pictures relating to Mrs Pratten and the Pelzer family

After Mrs Pratten died in 1895, her sister, Guilia Pelzer, inherited many of her instruments and archive, which were sold at auction by Sotheby's in 1938. Many of these papers and one instrument were resold at Christie's on 21st July 1978 and purchased by the vendor. Aside from the two “selected by” annotated guitars, the Gigelira, and the cloth covered music folders with their contents, the rest of this collection was bought by the vendor in another London auction following the Christie's event in 1978

It is rare to find such an archive of a prominent 19th century guitar teacher and player

The collection includes:

19th century guitar labelled 'Mme Sidney Praten, Instructness to H.R.H. The Princess Louise, 1857/This guitar belonged to my father Ferdinand Pelzer, 1831'  (italics in ink in Mrs Pratten's hand, the rest printed); Back and sides: Brazilian rosewood, fine hairline to centre back, further mild wear; Top: fine grained spruce with multi-string banding to the edges and sound hole, repaired cracks between the sound hole and bridge and bridge and lower body; Neck: ebonised, evidence of previous neck reset; Fretboard: ebony; Frets: good; Hardware: engraved brass tuners with shaped buttons; Case: original ebonised case with velvet interior bearing brass plaques to the outside inscribed 'Madame Sidney Pratten', and 'Mme Sidney Pratten/(No 2) 22A Dorset Street/Portman Sqe London'; Overall condition: good/restored. *Previously sold at a Sotheby's auction in 1938, lot 192, where attributed to Derazey, Paris

19th century guitar labelled 'Alfred Hays, Royal Exchange Buildings, E.C.', also bearing a label inscribed in hand 'Catherina Josepha Pratten, 22/.7.59', stamped with number 138 to the back of the head; Back and sides: one piece figured maple back, figured maple sides; Top: fine grained spruce with mild wear in places, multi-string banding to edges and sound hole; Neck: ebonised; Fretboard: ebony, bearing a plaque to the seventeenth fret inscribed 'Boosey & Son's/24 Holles Str/London'; Hardware: engraved brass tuning strips inscribed 'Boosey and Sons London'; Case: ebonised case with green felt interior

19th century guitar labelled 'Madame R. Sidney Pratten/1863 38, Welbeck Street/Cavendish Sqre.W. London' (italics in ink in Mrs Pratten's hand, the rest printed), numbered 3538 to the tip of the head; Back and sides: birds eye maple; Top: fine grained spruce with multi-string banding to the edges with floral mother of pearl, mastic and string banding to the sound hole; Neck: ebonised; Fretboard: ebony; Frets: good; Hardware: engraved brass tuning strips stamped 'V (crown) R' and with shaped buttons; Case: ebonised case with red felt interior; Overall condition: good

19th century guitar labelled 'Selected by/Mme Sidney Pratten/London 1873' (all in ink in Mrs Pratten's hand); Back and sides: Brazilian rosewood, repaired cleated cracks to centre back; Top: fine grained natural spruce with floral mother of pearl and mastic decoration to the edges and sound hole; Neck: ebonised and previously reset; Fretboard: ebony; Frets: good; Hardware: engraved brass tuners with round buttons; Case: ebonised case with red felt interior bearing a label to the underside of the compartment lid advertising her teaching 'Under royal patronage'; Overall condition: good/restored

Mid 19th century guitar labelled 'Addison and Hodson/Musical Instrument Seller/and/Manufacturer/to Her Majesty, and the Prince Albert/210 Regent Street and King Street/London'; Back and sides: rosewood, repairs; Top: natural spruce with pearl shield inlay, repaired crack between the bridge and shield inlay, alternate pearl inlay and boxwood string banding to the edges and sound hole; Neck: mahogany, dowelled repair; Fretboard: rosewood; Frets: good; Hardware: engraved brass tuning strips with crown stamp and shaped buttons; Case: ebonised case with red felt interior bearing an external label inscribed 'Madam Guilia Pelzer/Guild Hall School', the rest illegible; Overall condition: good/restored. *Sold with a black and white photograph on card showing Madame Sidney Pratten with a similar guitar, taken by W & A.H. Fry Photographers, 68, East Street Brighton and numbered in pencil 83024 'Pose 2'

19th century guitar labelled 'Selected by/Mme Sidney Pratten/London 22A Dorset Street Portman Sq.', inscribed in Mrs Pratten's hand; Back and sides: birds eye maple, repaired crack to back; Top: fine grained spruce; Neck: ebonised; Fretboard: ebony; Frets: good; Hardware: engraved brass tuning strips with oval buttons; Case: ebonised case with green felt interior; Overall condition: good/restored *The label inscription is typical of guitars resold by Mrs Pratten to her pupils

Early 19th century French guitar, unlabelled; Back and sides: satinwood, two small repaired cracks to the upper bout, further repaired cracks to the treble waist; Top: fine grained spruce with multi string banding to the edges and sound hole, many repaired cracks; Neck: ebonised; Fretboard: ebony; Frets: good; Hardware: brass tuning strips inscribed 'Domet' and with shaped buttons; Case: ebonised case with red felt interior in deteriorating condition; Overall condition: fair/restored

*Sold with old papers relating to Napoleon Bonaparte with an envelope hand inscribed 'Napoleon's General No. 10 Captaine Bacheville gave my father (Ferdinand Pelzer) this guitar, as a relic, he being a pupil of my father, & had a real love for him, as he played the guitar so splendidly - it was over my fathers bed for many year, Guilia Pelzer'; also including an old black and white photograph of the guitar and a black and white engraving of Ferdinand Pelzer holding a similar guitar

**Sold in a Sotheby's auction in 1938, lot 211, claiming it to be 'Napoleon Bonaparte's guitar'. Later sold at a Christie's sale in 1978 as part of lot 18

Gigelira wood and straw instrument, signed 'tuned by Mrs Sidney Pratten/ 22 Dorset Street Portman Sq W/London' to one of the wooden blocks, in original case, with a 14 page sheet music (Pianoforte and Guitar Accompaniments to various pieces for the Gigelira...)

Two needlework cloth covered folders enclosing sheet music with various blue crayon and other annotations. The blue folder titled with embroidered letters 'Whisper soft music to attending ears' with signature inside the front cover 'Catherina Josepha Pratten/Bow Wow/ - I-Chee-Pops-' , also containing 'Third edition in large' of 'Learning the Guitar/simplified by Mme Sydney Pratten'. The brown folder titled with embroidered letters 'I will enchant thine ear' with many pieces annotated in blue crayon.

George Brown - watercolour of Katharina Josefa Pelzer, stood holding a guitar, later inscribed 'Katharina Josefa Pelzer/(Madame Sidney Pratten)/ at the age of nine years', framed within a worn velvet cushioned frame, inscribed to the back of the frame in ink (probably by Guilia Pelzer) 'Mrs Sidney Pratten bequeathed this to me'

Archive of ephemera relating to Madame Sidney Pratten, including a small antique Ambrotype of a woman playing a guitar, probably Mrs Pratten; a lithograph of Guilio Regondi, a lithograph of 'Katharina Josefa Pelzer at nine years holding a guitar/Geo Brown delt/c. e. Wagstaff Sc'; a card 'from Madame Julia Pelzer' with her photo, holding a guitar to front' and four photos of Mrs Pratten holding a guitar, the largest by Byrne Richmond, 29cm x 23cm

More Information

19th century labelled JR the princess Louise: this guitar has had restoration with a glued crack to the centre back, a repaired crack to the treble side. The top has three repaired cracks between the bridge and end of body and at least three cracks between the soundhole and bridge beneath the strings. the neck has been reset. The guitar appears to have been overvarnished and it's very likely that the neck's been re-ebonised, the guitar in it's current state appears as though it would be playable.
The 19th century guitar labelled Alfred Hayes Royal Exchange: this guitar appears mostly in good condition with no visible major restoration. Some minor re-application of the body binding and the neck has had some internal re-enforcement which could suggest previous neck re-sets although it's not obvious externally. Guitar appears as though it would be playable.
The guitar labelled Welbeck Street, Cavendish Square: this guitar appears to be in good condition and free from any major faults and appears to be in playable condition. It has had some internal neck re-enforcement which could suggest previous neck re-sets although it's not obvious externally.
The guitar with the heavy foliate decoration to the edges and the soundhole: this guitar has various restoration to include many repaired cracks to the back which is typical of Brazilian rosewood which does dry out. There are also some very small minor hairline repairs to the ribs. The top has repaired cracks to the lower bout running through the bridge to the soundhole and body end. the entire body has been re-finished. The neck has been re-set and the guitar has had fretwork but appears as though it would be playable.
The guitar labelled Addison & Hodson: although this guitar comes with a photo of Pratten holding a similar guitar we do not believe it to be the same one. The top has a repaired crack between the bridge and body end. there is one block of pearl missing to the edge binding at the body end. There are many repaired cracks to the back, there is a head to neck repair which has been repaired with four dowels. The guitar has been re-finished. This guitar is also assumed playable.
The guitar labelled Selected by Sidney Pratten 22a Dorset street: the back of the guitar has a repaired crack to the lower bouts which has had some wood infill. Neck appears to have a slight concave back although this may be skewed on sight and not considered major. The guitar has had fretwork but otherwise appears okay.
The guitar that is reported to be Napoleon Bonaparte's: this guitar has many restorations although the back generally looks sound, the sides have repaired cracks to the treble waist. the table has been heavily restored with at least three cracks one of which runs the entire length of the table. The neck appears to have been either re-set or secured with cleats to the inside, we would assume the neck has been re-ebonised and fretwork carried out. There appears to be a slight twist to the neck but we feel the guitar is probably still very playable.
The Gigelira: this generally appears to be in good condition with one of the underneath straw stands having become detached from the instrument body. The case is a little tatty but otherwise considered good.
The sheet music outer cover's a little worn but generally good considering age, most of the music inside which probably would have been bound at some point is no longer and there are various annotations in Sidney Pratten's hand.
The watercolour has a worn back. The picture itself has some minor foxing but generally is still a bold and strong image.
The various images included with the lot are generally good.
The black and white print of the main watercolour on offer has some tears to the edges as does one of the other pictures but nothing major.
The Ambrotype is generally good albeit a little worn to the edges.
This is a quick overall assessment of condition from what we can ascertain in a short time frame, please note this opinion is ours only and personal viewing is always advised where possible

Closed
Auction Date: 9th Mar 2022 at 10am

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