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English guitar

English guitar

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1785 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Claus, Christian (designer and maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved and planed pine body with brass frets

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs Symes

  • Museum number:

    240-1881

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

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.

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.

Place of Origin

London (made)

Date

ca. 1785 (made)

Artist/maker

Claus, Christian (designer and maker)

Materials and Techniques

Carved and planed pine body with brass frets

Marks and inscriptions

Claus & Co. Inventor London, Patent-Instrument.
Stamped on belly.

No 7 Garrard Street.
Stamped at base of belly.

Dimensions

Length: 70 cm, Depth: 8.2 cm average

Object history note

This instrument was given to the Museum by Mrs Symes of Gorphwysfa, Upper Bangor, Wales in 1881.

Descriptive line

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

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Anthony Baines: Catalogue of Musical Instruments in the Victoria and Albert Museum - Part II: Non-keyboard instruments. (London, 1998), p. 52

Labels and date

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]

Materials

Pine; Brass; Paint; Felt

Techniques

Planing; Sawing; Joining

Categories

Musical instruments

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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