The Countess of Devonshire’s Piccolo Cello

48″ X 36″
acrylic on canvas

In a deep palette of earth colors, slate blue, and reds, this chamber with an elaborate chandelier, two Georgian chairs, and a massive carved secretary is the scene of musical appreciation in an English country house. A cello stands inexplicably on its own. The cello’s scale dates it to the 18th century, when “piccolo” (Italian for “little”) cellos were used by dilettantes as solo instruments. The countess has just left the room, as the chandelier is ablaze with candles behind the drawn curtain. “Incidentally, the countess is my “invention.” There is a duchess of Devonshire, but not a countess. And the chandelier was offered for sale by a dealer on St. Simon’s Island; he said the “twin” was in the U.S. Capital. I e-mailed him to ask the price when I saw a full page advertisement for it in an antiques magazine. I thought the countess would approve!”

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