London: Titanic’s bandmaster Wallace Hartley’s violin, which was believed to have got lost in the tragedy that claimed 1,500 lives, has been found in an attic in North Yorkshire.
Hartley, 34, had been given the violin by his fiance Maria Robinson, as an engagement gift.
He was playing it, ending with the hymn Nearer, ‘My God, To Thee,’ when the ocean liner sank after striking an iceberg in the North Atlantic on its maiden voyage in April 15, 1912.
Mystery had surrounded the instrument’s whereabouts, as it wasn’t on the inventory of belongings found on Hartley’s drowned body but in 2006, the unnamed son of a deceased amateur musician claimed to have discovered it in his mother’s attic, the Daily Express reported.
The violin, which was still in its leather case with the initials WHH, is said to have come his mother’s way via her violin teacher, who was connected to the Salvation Army in Bridlington, East Yorkshire.
It is thought to have been given by Robinson’s family following her death in 1939.
Now, after painstaking tests, the violin has been revealed as the genuine article worth a six-figure sum.
Titanic auctioneers Henry Aldridge and Son, who helped in the inquiry, said that they had spent the last seven years gathering evidence and could say beyond doubt that the instrument was Hartley’s violin on the Titanic and is the most important artefact relating to the Titanic to ever emerge and probably the most valuable as well.