Benton Fletcher

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Lord Allenby opened an exhibition of drawings of Royal Homes near London by Major Benton Fletcher. The picture shows Lord Allenby with Susan, Duchess of Somerset and Major Benton Fletcher. 3 December 1930

Major George Henry Benton Fletcher (22 October 1866 – 31 December 1944) was a collector of early keyboard instruments including virginals, clavichords, harpsichords, spinets and early pianos.[1] His collection is currently housed and kept in playing condition by the National Trust in Fenton House, a beautiful late 17th century merchant’s house in, Hampstead, north London.


1 Career
2 The Early Keyboard Collection
3 Family and early life
4 Octavia Hill, Cadets, Social work
5 Military career
6 Egypt, Flinders Petrie, and Temple discovery in Abydos
7 Musical connections
8 Painting, exhibitions, drawings
9 Books and Illustrations
10 His purchase and gift of houses to the National Trust
11 Death
12 Conclusion
13 References
14 External links

He was involved in social work in London slums from 1889 to 1899 with Octavia Hill and her Cadet Battalion, in a model social housing scheme in Red Cross Cottages, Southwark.[2][3] During the Second Boer War and the First World War[4] he served as a railway transport officer. He assisted Professor Flinders Petrie on excavations in Egypt and Palestine by drawing archaeological finds.[5] He became an artist, a book illustrator, a writer and a traveller,[6] drawing King Hussein bin Ali, Sharif of Mecca, who had invited him to Arabia in 1921,[7] and made several expeditions to the Libyan, Hejaz and Sahara deserts.[4] In 1934 he found an elegant but dilapidated Charles II town house called Old Devonshire House in Holborn. He bought, restored and furnished it with antiques and his growing collection of early keyboard instruments as a music centre for amateurs, students and professionals. He gave this and other houses and his collection of instruments to the National Trust in 1938.[8] He became something of a social and press celebrity and raconteur giving talks on the BBC National Programme radio service in 1938-9[9] and early television broadcasts from Alexandra Palace featuring his stories and keyboard instruments in 1937-8.[10][11] His a