I didn’t see the version of Mansfield Park mentioned in this story, but the instrument is fascination.
You may recall a scene in Patricia Rozeman’s adaptation of Mansfield Park where we see Julia and Maira Bertram playing a strange instrument for the entertainment of the family . Here is a scene cap from the film showing them at work:
They were, in fact, playing a glass harmonica.
This is a fascinating instrument which was invented by the American polymath, Benjamin Frankin in 1761 while he was living in London. He had heard Edward Delaval , a Fellow of the Royal Society, play on his set of musical glasses in 1759. This was an idea with which we are more familiar, I think , as we can still see these types of glasses played today by some variety artists. In fact these glasses -wine glasses filled to different levels with water which were played by rubbing wetted fingers along the rims- seems to have been the brain child of…
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