The V&A's Musical Instrument Collection
As a museum of the decorative arts, the V&A acquired its musical instruments and has displayed them as works of art rather than to tell the history of music. This is the context in which they are currently shown in the Furniture Gallery, British Galleries and the Medieval and Renaissance Galleries.
Music for the Lute
The lute came to Europe in the 13th century via Islamic Spain, becoming the most important instrument in Western music in the centuries that followed. The music you can listen to here, Washa mesa, Der Hupff Auff, Gassenhauer, is from a book published in 1536 by Hans Neusidler in Nuremberg, Germany.
'Queen Elizabeth's Virginal', Giovanni Baffo, 1594
With its variety of different decoration techniques and luxurious materials, the keyboard instrument known as the Queen Elizabeth’s Virginal, which evidently belonged to the ‘Virgin Queen’, is a very interesting example of fine 16th-century Venetian craftsmanship.