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Archlute

Archlute

  • Place of origin:

    Rome (made)

  • Date:

    1619 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Buechenberg, Matteo (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    planed and joined shaded yew ribs; pine soundboard, ebony veneered neck with ivory stringing; turned ivory thumb-buttons; iron levers.

  • Museum number:

    218-1882

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This instrument is a chitarrone, the largest form of lute. It was subsequently converted into a smaller version, known as the archlute. The peghead used to accomodate the extra long bass strings of the chitarrone has been cut and set to the bass side, and the neck has also been shortened. This instrument was probably played until the 19th centuryas it is fitted with iron levers, dating from about 1800, which raise the bass strings a semi-tone. The body of this example was made in 1619 by Matteo Buechenberg (d. 1628), a luthier of German origins who settled in Rome and is best known for his chitarroni.

Physical description

'Back of fifty-one shaded [yew] ribs. Pine belly carved with triple rose, one section possibly a replacement. The neck is later, with a short plain fingerboard (16.5 cm) and the main pegbox with twelve pegs, evidently, by nut grooves, for twelve single strings. The head has been crudely chopped down from an earlier longer head and is now set over to the bass side; the back is of ebony with inlaid ivory strings. The upper pegbox has twelve pegs for six double courses, and five iron semitone levers actuated by ivory brass thum buttons.' - Anthony Baines: Catalogue of Musical Instruments in the Victoria and Albert Museum - Part II: Non-keyboard instruments. (London, 1998), p. 34.

Place of Origin

Rome (made)

Date

1619 (made)

Artist/maker

Buechenberg, Matteo (made)

Materials and Techniques

planed and joined shaded yew ribs; pine soundboard, ebony veneered neck with ivory stringing; turned ivory thumb-buttons; iron levers.

Marks and inscriptions

Matheus Buechenberg / Roma 1619
Handwritten in ink on a label inside the body of this instrument.

Dimensions

Length: 125.5 cm total, Length: 65 cm length of belly, Width: 39 cm, Length: 84.5 cm maximum string length, Length: 65 cm minimum string length

Object history note

This instrument formed part of the collections of Carl Engel (1818-1882) and was bought by the Museum in 1882 for £8.

Descriptive line

Archlute, Italian (Rome), yew ribs and ebony and ivory veneered neck, Matteo Buechenborg, 1619.

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. 34.

Materials

Yew; Ebony; Ivory; Iron

Techniques

Planing; Carving; Stringing

Categories

Musical instruments

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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