The iconic Titanic sank over a century ago, and yet it still holds numerous mysteries and unexpected surprises. One of them was the recent discovery of Wallace Hartley’s wooden violin which had been believed to be lost forever in the depths of the Atlantic. For those of you who don’t know, Hartley was one of the 8 famous musicians who chose to remain on the vessel together with the crew and play classical music one last time before they would die.
Their legend is famous and was majestically illustrated in James Cameron’s epic film based on the tragic story of the ship. The moment was deeply touching for everybody who watched the film, but it was infinitely more significant when it actually happened, on the tragic night of April 14, 1912. While the story started out as a legend, evidence proved that the musicians’ sacrifice was actually real. They did play their instruments until the end.
Survivors reported how the sound of music was intertwined with the sounds of the catastrophe and how it felt like a melodic prayer that echoed in their hearts. Hartley, who was also the bandmaster on the vessel, sank into the cold water of the ocean, and his body was found 10 days later. His violin, however, was believed to be gone forever, as no recovery expedition could find it.
For a century everybody believed that the instrument was lost for good, so imagine how surprised its founder was when he made the discovery in the attic of his mother’s home. The mother – an amateur musician – had received the violin from her music teacher and didn’t even suspect how very special it really was.
The discovery was made in 2006, but it took 7 years of testing and analyzing before specialists could confirm its origin. The process also involved tens of thousands of pounds spend on all the necessary steps that led to its authentication. The investment was fully worth it, as now the instrument is said to have a six-figure value. All those who would like to see the violin with their own eyes will be happy to know that it will soon be displayed at the Belfast City Hall.