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Vowles bites the dust...


Contrabombarde
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Cost of restoration against real value to a client makes this one doubtful to me. It is compact, but 1896 Vowles 'Welsh chapel model' is not inspiring.

 

If it was intact and playing then possibly, as it stands, it's not saying much that's positive.

 

AJS

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Guest Patrick Coleman

There are intact and better kept small Vowles in need of preservation.

 

As a less fashionable provincial builder, Vowles tended to supply organs in places that could not afford the fashionable 'big' builders of the time, and they subsequently suffered from lack of maintenance and the attentions of less than reputable 'experts'. There are some outstanding small Vowles instruments, and a couple of fine large ones (I'm told that Mansfield College Oxford is one of them , though I've never heard it) - and until the 1950s our own three-manual Vowles in Abertillery would have counted as one of their finest works, on a par with all comers. Like the little instrument in question, it has suffered beyond economic repair.

 

In sum, don't write off Vowles because there are people who still turn up their noses at them, but it does look as if this instrument in Porth is past saving.

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I might be wrong about this, but I believe that, in its current state, the organ at Christ Church with St Ewen, Bristol is essentially a Vowles instrument, even though Walkers have subsequently attended to it on several occasions. It's a lovely instrument. Mind you, there's a lot of Renatus Harris and Swarbrick pipework in there. (The NPOR record is Christ Church with St George, but no one calls it that AFAIK.)

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I might be wrong about this, but I believe that, in its current state, the organ at Christ Church with St Ewen, Bristol is essentially a Vowles instrument, even though Walkers have subsequently attended to it on several occasions. It's a lovely instrument. Mind you, there's a lot of Renatus Harris and Swarbrick pipework in there. (The NPOR record is Christ Church with St George, but no one calls it that AFAIK.)

Indeed it is, and is none the less for it. It works wonderfully in what is quite a small building. There is a difference in quality between that and what we are being presented with here for sale. There are a lot of small mass produced late Victorian instruments that were created for a market and a budget, and then there are the bespoke instruments. This is not to decry small 'chapel' instruments. One of the nicest Open Diapasons I have heard is in a small Welsh Baptist chapel by Hardy of Stockport from about 1896 I think. Horrid ugly tickside out pipework with a few dents and looking to be cut up a bit too much for the pressure, but what a wonderfully strong resonant clear sound. Books and covers and all that. Organ couldn't have been anything else but cheap though, but a Waterstone's 2 for £5 offer can still yield something worth reading.

 

AJS

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