This summer (13 June – 11 August) the Ashmolian Museum in Oxford has a exceptional exhibition celebrating the work of the seventeenth century master crafter of string instruments; Antonio Stadivari. The rarely seen pieces will include a 1721 Stradivarius violin played by the famous EMI classical violinist Yehudi Menuhin before its auction at Sotheby’s 1971
Stadivari violins are considered the finest in the world, played only by the best professional musicians and held in private collections amoungst royalty.
Yehudi Menuhin photographed by Angus McBean. Copyright: EMI Music Ltd
Menuhin was an EMI recording artist for almost 70 years. He made his first recording in November 1929, aged just 13 and his last recording in 1999 aged 83. As a violinst and a conductor he recorded over 300 pieces for EMI.
The Marconiphone was a brand of radios that were originally developed by the Marconi Company in the UK from 1923. The brand was sold to the Gramophone Company in 1929 as that company diversified into wireless technology. The Gramophone Company became EMI in 1931 and continued to make Marconiphone Radios until 1956.
The first two images come from the Memoranda of Sale of the Marconiphone brand in 1929. Heavily influenced by Art Deco, the brochure is Alfred Clark (the Managing Director of the Gramophone Company)’s personal copy. You can see his name in the bottom right hand corner.
It contains a personal message from Marconi himself:
This is a trade advertisement ecouraging dealers to stock Marconiphones from around 1930:
This wonderful consumer advert places the Marconiphone as a premium luxury item as is clear by the sophistication of the image and the 52 guineas price tag (about £3,000 at today’s prices):
Another consumer advert frome the early 1930’s which again has an art deco feel: