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This instrument was the height of 17th-century fashion in more ways than one. Its overall style suited a fashionable home and it was decorated with a painting of well-dressed ladies and gentlemen and an essential high-class accessory – a poodle. The virginal’s tall stand also served a practical purpose. It allowed women wearing fashionable but cumbersome dresses to play the instrument standing up.The largest and probably the best known of the surviving English virginals, this instrument was part of the original Raymond Russell collection, purchased by him in 1949. The instrument has a beautifully decorated interior with a painted park scene inside the lid, gilt papers, ivory studding and unusually large number of soundboard roses. However, when closed the instrument looks somewhat morbid with its coffered oak lid. (Raymond Russell Collection).