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Talbot Brothers stalwart honoured by Masterworks

It goes like this: Roy Talbot plays his 'Bermudavarius' or'Dog-House' a local take of the stradivarius.

A sculpture to honour one of Bermuda’s musical giants has been given place of pride outside the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art.

The Talbot Brothers were international calypso stars in the late 1940s and 1950s, and a popular act through to the 1970s.

Roy Talbot, the band’s double bass player, who died in 2009 aged 94, was one of the group’s standout figures.

His distinctive homemade instrument was cast in steel in 1956 as a token of thanks by the United States Steel Corporation, after the band played a benefit gig for the company.

Mr Talbot, who was the last surviving member of the band, was survived by the steel replica, which remained rust-free after 50 years outside his house along South Shore in Smith’s, despite decades of exposure to salt air and the elements.

He is also survived by his wife, Mary, who turned 87 this month, and who has donated the sculpture of the guitar – which fans in the Talbot Brothers’ heyday nicknamed “the doghouse” and the “Bermudavarius” – to the Masterworks collection.

Tom Butterfield, the founder and creative director at Masterworks, said it was “a great gift” in honour of an “amazing” group“ he used to see as a youngster when the Talbot Brothers were at the top of their game and Bermuda’s musical venues were in full swing.

The Paget gallery showcases the whole Bermudian arts scene and previous tributes to the island’s music include its Ambassadors of Song exhibition in 2006 and Bermuda’s Black Artistic Legacy in 2009.

Mr Butterfield said: “We met some members of the Talbot family as a result of ’Ambassadors of Song’ and Mary has been following us since. She’s turned into a big fan of ours.”

He added: “This now comes off private property and becomes a public symbol to remind people of the great work that the Talbot Brothers did.”

The instrument is to be placed on a stand in front of the museum, where Mr Butterfield said it would complement the nearby 6ft steel sculpture to commemorate John Lennon, which was installed in 2012.

Lennon’s 1980 stay in Bermuda inspired his final album, Double Fantasy, named after a flower the Beatle spotted in the Botanical Gardens outside Masterworks.

Mr Butterfield added: “Having the Talbot Brothers sculpture with John Lennon unites local and international artists.

“That has been the aim of Masterworks with art and now music.”

Mrs Talbot also donated her husband’s original wooden double bass, which the museum is to have treated and restored to add to its collection.

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Published November 04, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated November 03, 2020 at 10:25 pm)

Talbot Brothers stalwart honoured by Masterworks

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