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Barbara Penny had a sense of joie de vivre which she maintained throughout her life. Her interests ranged widely across the artistic field. She was known to many as a professional violinist; to others she was an avid antiques collector with a particular love of clocks; others still knew her as a keen gardener; and to local children she was known as the lady with fairies in her garden.
Barbara attended Malvern Girl's College, where she gained her LRAM on the piano whilst still at school. She subsequently won a major scholarship to the Royal College of Music in London, where she studied piano and violin. Although gifted in both instruments, she concentrated on the violin as her small hands were better suited to its fingerboard than the greater stretch required for the piano's octaves. Her father purchased the Mateo Goffriller instrument for her in 1946, while she herself purchased her Antonio Stradivarius violin in 1965.
Barbara performed as a soloist and chamber musician in Britain and Europe, and made many appearances on the South Bank in London. As well as broadcasting with the BBC, she led the Bolshoi and the Festival Ballet Orchestras on several occasions. For many years she was a member of the acclaimed London Mozart Players and was the first woman to be accepted into the string section of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, a major step forward for women performers.
In addition to studying with Sascha Lasserson, Tom Jenkins and Frederick Grinke, she also enjoyed working with the eminent violinist, Jack Rothstein, focusing particularly on 20th Century repertoire. Barbara made a special study of Eastern European music, both traditional and modern, and received many complimentary reviews for her performances in this field. In the last few years she was performing almost entirely for Charity Concerts and consequently helped to raise thousands of pounds for a variety of causes.
Barbara travelled extensively, both for work and pleasure. She spent many hours perusing antiques stores wherever she might find them, seeking out hidden treasures. Over the years she honed her aptitude as a discerning collector, acquiring a selection of paintings, furniture and stringed instruments. However, her most extensive and most prized collection was that of her clocks. She delighted in visiting exhibitions, museums, art galleries and historic houses, but her true interest lay in the many people that she met in every context. She had the capacity to be wonderfully broad-minded and non-judgmental, which resulted in a vast circle of friends and acquaintances. Her family and friends were continually inspired by her vibrancy, her enthusiasm for life and her constant encouragement.
The Property of the late Barbara Penny, Sold by Order of the Executors (lots 1-27)