Violin played on Titanic revealed for first time

By | March 15, 2013

The violin used by Wallace Hartley as the Titanic sank

The wooden instrument used by Wallace Hartley as the band famously played on while the liner sank was thought to have been lost in the Atlantic in the 1912 disaster.

It wasn’t until 2006 when the son of an amateur musician who had been casually given the instrument by her violin teacher unearthed it in the attic of her home.

The discovery was almost too good to be true, prompting experts to have the relic forensically examined by some of the most revered scientific bodies in Britain.

Now, after seven years of testing at a cost of tens of thousands of pounds, the water-stained violin has been proven to be the one played by Hartley on the night of the tragedy.

These pictures show how incredibly well-preserved the rose wood violin is despite its age and it being exposed to the sea for 10 days after the sinking.

There are two long cracks on its body that are said to have been opened up by moisture damage.

The photos also show the coroded engraved silver plate screwed onto the base of the fiddle that provided scientists with they key proof of its authenticity.

The historic violin, said to be worth a six figure sum, will go on public display at the Belfast City Hall, where Titanic was built, at the end of this month.

Negotiations are also under way to exhibit it in museums around the world including America. It is likely to be auctioned off in the future.

Titanic experts have described it as the most important artefact associated with the infamous liner to have come to light.

Within minutes of Titanic striking an iceberg on April 14, 1912, Hartley was instructed to assemble the band and play music in order to maintain calm.

The eight musicians gallantly performed on the chilly boat deck of the Titanic while the passengers lined up for the lifeboats.

The band carried on until the bitter end, famously playing a final hymm of ‘Nearer, My God, To Thee.’

Hartley, and the other seven band members, perished along with 1,500 passengers and crew when the luxurious vessel sank at 2.20am on April 15.

After his body was recovered by the ship the Mackay Bennett 10 days later, the violin wasn’t listed by officials among the inventory of items found in his possession.

A newspaper report later stated that Hartley was found fully dressed and with the instrument strapped to his body.

The conflicting accounts gave way to the theory that either the violin simply floated off in the Atlantic or was stolen by somebody involved with handling the bodies. …

via Violin played on Titanic revealed for first time – Telegraph.

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