Violet Gordon-Woodhouse

Violet Gordon-Woodhouse

Violet Gordon-Woodhouse

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Violet Gordon-Woodhouse (23 April 1872January 1948Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 5th ed., 1954, Eric Blom ed.) was an acclaimed British harpsichordist and clavichordist, highly influential in bringing both instruments back into fashion.


Violet Kate Eglinton Gwynne was the sister of Rupert Gwynne, MP for Eastbourne from 1910 to 1924, and Roland Gwynne, Mayor of Eastbourne from 1929 to 1931, who is thought to have been the lover of suspected serial killer Dr John Bodkin Adams. Among her nieces was the renowned cookery writer, Elizabeth David.


Originally, Violet played the piano but rose to fame playing the harpsichord and clavichord, after meeting Arnold Dolmetsch, a great pioneer of early instruments, in 1910. She was close to many of the leading artists of her day, including, amongst others; Ethel Smyth, Siegfried Sassoon, Poldowski (Lady Dean Paul) and George Bernard Shaw.

She did however scandalise much of society with her private life. She married Gordon Woodhouse on 31 July 1895 on the understanding that they would not sleep in the same room. Violet took lovers and in 1899, much to Gordon's humiliation, William......
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