Not currently on display at the V&A

English Guitar

ca. 1785 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This version of the English guitar was played with keys and felt-padded hammers, a device which Chrisitan Claus, a London luthier patented in 1783 . The English guitar was very popular amongst ladies, and Claus's aim was to produce an instrument that they could play without damaging their nails on the wire strings, and which would make sounds like those of the now highly fashionable piano.


object details
Category
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 3 parts.

  • Back Panel
  • English Guitar
  • Detached Element
Materials and Techniques
Carved and planed pine body with brass frets
Brief Description
part of guitar, English (London), 1783-90, Christian Claus



English, Christian Claus, London, 1783-90



with five keys(?), part of guitar, English (London), 1783-90, Christian Claus
Physical Description
'Body and belly all of pine, with feather branding painted in red. Similarly painted simulated rose containing six diagonally placed holes through which small felted hammers spring out to strike the strings from below. Six small wooden keys on the lower left side of the belly actuate the hammers. Bridge missing. Ebony fingerboard with shaped end and twelve brass frets and three capotasto holes. Watch-key tuning. Finial broken.'. Anthony Baines: Catalogue of Musical Instruments in the Victoria and Albert Museum - Part II: Non-keyboard instruments. (London, 1998), p. 52.
Dimensions
  • Length: 70cm
  • Average depth: 8.2cm
Marks and Inscriptions
  • Claus & Co. Inventor London, Patent-Instrument. (Stamped on belly.)
  • No 7 Garrard Street. (Stamped at base of belly.)
Gallery Label
ENGLISH GUITAR, Pine soundboard and body, ebony finger board England, by Christian Claus; about 1785 Museum No.: 240-1881. The instrument is stamped on the back Claus & Co. Inventor, London. Patent-Instrument. It is displayed in such a way as to show Claus's keyed guitar mechanism.(ca. 1995)
Credit line
Given by Mrs Symes
Object history
This instrument was given to the Museum by Mrs Symes of Gorphwysfa, Upper Bangor, Wales in 1881.
Summary
This version of the English guitar was played with keys and felt-padded hammers, a device which Chrisitan Claus, a London luthier patented in 1783 . The English guitar was very popular amongst ladies, and Claus's aim was to produce an instrument that they could play without damaging their nails on the wire strings, and which would make sounds like those of the now highly fashionable piano.
Bibliographic Reference
Anthony Baines: Catalogue of Musical Instruments in the Victoria and Albert Museum - Part II: Non-keyboard instruments. (London, 1998), p. 52
Collection
Accession Number
240-1881

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record createdOctober 17, 2007
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