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This is an instrument of the double-curve bentside shape, with ‘skunk-tail’ accidentals which are a particular Hitchcock speciality. Hitchcock was one of a family of instrument makers working in London and was bound as an apprentice to Benjamin Slade (a pupil of Stephen Keene). Hitchcock died in a coaching accident in 1737, only nine years after this instrument was made. (Raymond Russell Collection).The angled keyboard of this 18th-century spinet allowed its player to face their audience, even when the instrument was placed against a wall in the home. Genteel young women who were keen to show off their fine keyboard skills to a potential suitor might, therefore, be able to catch a young man’s eye as they played.