The Spencer Collection belonged to the musician and scholar Robert Spencer, and since 1997 is part of the collection of the Royal Academy of Music. It is one of the most important collections for guitar and lute in the world, comprising instruments, rare manuscripts, books, artwork, and other items involving particularly the history and development of plucked instruments.
Fabricio Mattos has been regularly accessing the collection since 2017, and this intense research resulted in the Spencer Series, a set of lecture-recitals at the Royal Academy's Museum exploring in detail some of the material in the collection. Find below photo and video samples of the instruments in the collection (not all in an 'ideal' playing condition), and some images of the material explored by Fabricio Mattos in this series.
Another interesting aspect of the collection lies in the amount of methods, most of which are first editions. The photos below show some selected examples of the material available.
RARE PRINTS & MANUSCRIPTS
The Spencer Collection also contains a fair amount of interesting prints and manuscripts, from signed first editions to music written on a hotel pad! Here are some examples:
THE SPENCER SERIES
The Spencer Series took place at the Royal Academy of Music's Museum from September 2018 to July 2019, and was comprised of thematic lecture-recitals. The series, curated and presented by Fabricio Mattos in coordination with the RAM's Museum, Library, and Instruments Curator, explored some of the most interesting materials in the collection, as well as bringing to life some rare music from rare prints and manuscripts. Find below some examples of the themes included in the series.
In October 2020, Fabricio Mattos was invited by the AALGA - Asociación Argentina de Laúdes y Guitarras Antiguas, to give a talk and a mini-recital to be premiered on 25 October 2020, as part of their Latin-American conference. The five different guitars from the Spencer Collection that were used for this video recording are pictured below in some detail, followed by the link to the mini-recital.