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Cither viol

Cither viol

  • Place of origin:

    Dublin (made)

  • Date:

    1767 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Perry, Thomas (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Planed pine soundboard with mother of pearl beading inlaid along the edges; planed sycamore back, planed ivory fingerboard and tailpiece; brass ringed tuning-pegs

  • Museum number:

    156-1882

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The cither-viol or sultana, as it was also known in English, was played with a bow and usually had five pairs of wire strings or 'courses', although this example only has six single strings. It made a brief appearance in the British Isles from about 1760 until 1800, and was similar to the Northern German version of the viola d'amore, a bowed instrument with five wire strings. Thomas Perry of Dublin (1744-1818), who signed this example, is the only known maker of this type of instrument. He was also regarded as one of the best violin-makers in Ireland.

Physical description

"High arched belly of a single piece of pine, with "flame" holes and mother-of pearl inlay round the edges. Arch back of one piece of sycamore, with two painted black lines. Back and belly edges are flush with sides. The neck is set a little backwards and without frets. The head, with a square finial similar to that of English guitars, has six enclosed brass machines tuned by ring-shaped fingerpieces along the sides, as is also found on some English guitars. There are indications that this machine-head, though of an eighteenth century pattern, replaces original pegs. The tailpiece has an ivory slip over ebony and the fingerboard is ivory with ebony edging. Six wire strings, three steel, one brass, and two overspun." - Anthony Baines: Catalogue of Musical Instruments in the Victoria and Albert Museum - Part II: Non-keyboard instruments. (London, 1998), p. 13.

Place of Origin

Dublin (made)

Date

1767 (made)

Artist/maker

Perry, Thomas (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Planed pine soundboard with mother of pearl beading inlaid along the edges; planed sycamore back, planed ivory fingerboard and tailpiece; brass ringed tuning-pegs

Marks and inscriptions

Made by Thos. Perry / in Christ Church / Yard Dublin 1767
Label in ink

Perry Dublin
On the button of the instrument

Dimensions

Length: 76 cm, Length: 36 cm soundboard, Depth: 4.3 cm, Width: 19 cm upper bout, Width: 23.5 cm lower bout

Object history note

This instrument formed part of the collections of Carl Engel (1818-1882) and was bought £3 - 10 - 0 (£3.50) by this Museum in 1882.

Descriptive line

Cither viol, Irish (Dublin), with ivory finger board and tail piece, by Thomas Perry, 1767.

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. 13

Materials

Ebony; Ivory; Sycamore; Pine; Brass; Mother of pearl

Techniques

Inlay; Planing

Categories

Woodwork; Musical instruments

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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