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Hurdy-gurdy

  • Place of origin:

    France (Made)

  • Date:

    1855 (or possibly 1835) (Made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Pajot, Gilbert (Made)
    Pajot, Jean-Baptiste, born 1817 - died 1863 (Made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Planed, stained and carved sycamore ribs; planed sycamore soundboard with ebony and ivory edging; planed and partly black-lacquered walnut wheel-guard, key-box lid and tailpiece; turned ebonized wooden tuning pegs.

  • Museum number:

    267-1882

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The hurdy-gurdy has long been associated with pastoral music The melody would be played on keys, and a rotating wheel provided a background drone, by rubbing the strings like a violin bow. This example is decorated in a somewhat rustic manner, which may have been thought particularly suitable for this type of instrument. It was made by one of the Pajots, either Gilbert (d. 1853) or his son, Jean-Baptiste (1817-1863). This family produced the most sought-after hurdy-gurdies in France during the 19th century and was based in Jenzat, in the Auvergne.

Physical description

"Lute shaped body of nine ribs of sycamore alternately stained. The pegbox, an extension of the keybox, has six pegs and a crudely carved head. The instrument is crudely decorated with floral inlay and painted design. Normal French provincial instrument, of rather large dimensions." - Anthony Baines, Catalogue of Musical Instruments in the Victoria and Albert Museum - Part II: Non-keyboard instruments (London, 1998), p. 27

Place of Origin

France (Made)

Date

1855 (or possibly 1835) (Made)

Artist/maker

Pajot, Gilbert (Made)
Pajot, Jean-Baptiste, born 1817 - died 1863 (Made)

Materials and Techniques

Planed, stained and carved sycamore ribs; planed sycamore soundboard with ebony and ivory edging; planed and partly black-lacquered walnut wheel-guard, key-box lid and tailpiece; turned ebonized wooden tuning pegs.

Marks and inscriptions

Mention Honorable / Pajot Père et Fils ['Père et' crossed out] / Facteur d' instruments / A Jenzat par Gannat - 1835 [or possibly 1855] - No. 65
Honorable Mention / Pajot Father and Son / Maker of instruments / At Jenzat by Gannat - 1835 [or possibly 1855] - No. 65
Part-printed and part-written on a label on the inside of the lid of the key-box

Dimensions

Length: 74 cm total, Length: 30 cm string length, Width: 34 cm

Object history note

This instrument was part of the collections of Carl Engel (1818-1882) and bought by the Museum in 1882 for £3.

Descriptive line

Hurdy-gurdy, sycamore ribs and belly, Gilbert or Jean-Baptiste Pajot, French (Auvergne), 1835.

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. 27

Production Note

The label inside this hurdy-gurdy reads ' ... Pajot Père et Fils ['Père et' is crossed out] / Facteur d' instruments ... 1835 [or 1855] and refers to a 'mention honorable'. Jean Pajot, the father, was the first known member of this hurdy-gurdy-making family. He made his first instruments at Jenzat in 1795 and died in 1847. His son Gilbert carried on the business until his death in 1853, when he was succeeded by his son, Jean-Baptiste (1817-1863). The hand-written date on the label could either be 1835 or 1855, and the mention honorable may possibly refer to the Exposition Universelle of Paris (1855). The earlier date would make Gilbert the maker and later one his son, Jean-Baptiste.

Materials

Sycamore; Ebony; Ivory; Walnut

Techniques

Planing; Carving; Staining; Lacquering

Categories

Musical instruments

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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