Music at Mottisfont - Raymond Russell and the harpsichord

The harpsichord in the Boy's Room at Mottisfont, Hampshire

Our Boy's Room showcases a beautiful harpsichord, on loan from the University of Southampton as part of an ongoing research project.

Maud and Gilbert Russell's son Raymond was a keen harpsichord performer and a leading figure in the early twentieth century harpsichord revival.

Singer Kate Hawnt and harpsichord performer Christopher D. Lewis write:

Raymond spent much of his teenage life at Mottisfont, before embarking on a career of collecting and research. He made ground-breaking discoveries and formed one of the world’s foremost collections of historic keyboard instruments.

Raymond Russell was a leading figure in the early 20th-century harpsichord revival
An old photograph of Raymond Russell at the harpsichord
Raymond Russell was a leading figure in the early 20th-century harpsichord revival

A highly favoured instrument of the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, the harpsichord found a place in the concert halls again in the early part of the twentieth century thanks to a revival movement to return the instrument to the stage.

People like Raymond Russell were essential in reminding the world about the harpsichord and supporting this revival.

Sadly, his tragic early death occurred before he managed to complete the donation of this collection to the University of Edinburgh, a task which Maud Russell completed in memory of him in 1968.

Maud herself kept two beautiful and historic instruments at Mottisfont, poignant reminders of her youngest son.