Madame Sidney Pratten Collections sells for £37,920
17th March 2022
Selling for £37,920 (inclusive of fees) in the recent Musical Instrument sale was 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