Madame Sidney Pratten was the Victorian era’s foremost figure in London’s guitar scene, playing an influential role in popularizing the instrument. Her students included F. A. Cramer, Ernest Shand, Princess Louise (daughter of Queen Victoria), and Dr. Walter Leckie (Francisco Tárrega’s patron).
Born Catharina Josepha Pelzer in 1821, her family arrived in London from Mülheim, Germany in the 1820s. Young Catharina was soon promoted as a child prodigy concertizing to an enthusiastic public. She later married the famed flautist Sidney Pratten and continued teaching and performing until her death in 1895.
Madame Pratten’s personal guitars are identifiable in one of three ways: by her wax seal with the initials “SP” to the head, by a brass nameplate to the case, or by provenance. The Mareshal Mathieu guitar carries both Madame Pratten’s wax seal and her hand-written label.