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James Davis Chamber Organ 1790


This is another rare and charming organ representing the second facsimile English HW organ dating from before the 1800's.

The organ is presented in a much more sumptuous case than the smaller Avery instrument and it would seem that it was built for the church - there being no records of it having been placed elsewhere in its history.

The instrument is a large single manual with nine stops and pedals. The Stopped Diapason and the Mixture are split into bass and treble halves whilst the remainder are complete. The instruments has a long compass down to G, finishing at F giving a compass of 59 notes. The keyboard slides out into place once the covering "flap" is opened. As per the norm for instruments of this period, G# in the bass does not exist in the real instrument (we have provided pitch shifted notes to provide the missing pipes). The tuning is most likely 10th. comma which allows pretty much all keys to be played without the unpleasant wolves of other temperaments. Thanks to Hauptwerk many different temperaments can be applied as users see fit. The instrument is cone tuned throughout. The instrument remains untouched and unaltered with the exception of the provision of an electric blower a few years ago. The drawstops are held in by a notch when "off" and spring out when "pulled".

The specification is: Double Diapason, Open Diapason, Dulciana, Stopped Diapason Bass, Stopped Diapason Treble, Principal, Fifteenth, Sesquialtera, Cornet and Hautboy. There is a shifting pedal to cancel or bring on the upper work.

The Sesquialtera and Cornet are misnamed since neither contain a third sounding rank and are merely straight forward 19:22 based quint mixtures breaking at C-60 which is also where the stop splits. Compasses of some of the other stops are a little strange in that with the exception of the Stopped Diapason none of the unison stops extend to low G (10 2/3'). The Dulciana ceases at C-48 and the Open Diapason only goes down to F#-42. The remainder is not grooved. The Double Diapason finishes at G-43. The Hautboy is a short compass stop commencing at C-60.

The keyboard compass is 59 notes from 031-G to 089-F and the pedal compass is 17 notes (the bottom G# is missing) from G-31 to C-48.

We have presented the organ in three different versions: Version 1 is of the organ recorded very close up at about 2" from the pipes. Version 2 is of the organ recorded from about 10' back and Version 3 combines both close and medium recordings with the choice of either or both recording positions. The reverberation in the church is fairly minimal and the medium distance set is presented "wet". The close recorded samples are to all intent and purpose dry with negligible ambience.

N.B. The reversible pedal that cancels out the split upper-work stops has not been included because it would be impossible to duplicate this facility exactly as it works in reality. Seven combinations plus a cancel have been provided as an alternative. Because HW defaults to a C compass keyboard, it will be necessary for users to reset the bottom note as 031-G using the "Keyboards" settings under "Organ Settings" in order to access the GGG compass. the screen shot below is for the close and medium combined set.

James Davis founded his business in 1780 together with his brother David near the Lancastrian town of Preston. The business was moved to London in 1790 and Samuel Renn the nephew of James was apprenticed to the firm at this time eventually becoming foreman. The company produced a large number of small instruments together with larger instruments including Wymondham Abbey, Stockport and Stonyhurst College. David became a partner with Clementi the piano and harpsichord maker and Samuel Renn went on to found the company of Renn, the Renn and Boston. Samuel Renn had a nephew called Kirtland who took over the business in 1845 and he in turn was joined by a partner called Jardine. Eventually the company became known by the singular name of Jardine. Thus as with many organ builders it was a small world and it is often surprising as to who turns up where in many organ builders histories.

Although the output of Davis was quite large, only about 18 instruments are known to survive and the majority of these have been completely absorbed into instruments by later builders. Those organs that remain in original and unaltered condition are few and far between.


JAMES DAVIS 1790: 55.00

JAMES DAVIS 1790 PLUS AVERY 1792: 75.00

SAVE 15.00


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Last modified: 25-06-2019