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Arch cittern

Arch cittern

  • Place of origin:

    France (Made)

  • Date:

    1780-1800 (Made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (Made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    planed and joined pine soundboard with painted edging; sycamore back and sides; neck and pegboxes of wood painted black.

  • Museum number:

    221-1882

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Citterns were strung with metal or gut strings, and those with extra unstopped ones in the bass were known as 'arch-citterns'. This example was probably made in France, and is a somewhat cruder version of the arch-cittern by Sébastien Renault (Museum no. 207-1882). It may have been used as a folk instrument, in the same way as arch-citterns made and played at this time in Germany and Switzerland.

Physical description

"A cruder version of the two preceding instruments [Museum nos. 207-1882 and 211-1882], with simulated purfling painted on the pine belly. The neck and pegboxes are painted black. The fingerboard (length 33 cm) at one time had seventeen frets, but has been refitted with fourteen brass frets. The main peg box is for seven strings and the upper for five. The upper pegbox has a straight nut and a square finial". - Anthony Baines: Catalogue of Musical Instruments in the Victoria and Albert Museum - Part II: Non-keyboard instruments (London, 1998), p. 54.

Place of Origin

France (Made)

Date

1780-1800 (Made)

Artist/maker

Unknown (Made)

Materials and Techniques

planed and joined pine soundboard with painted edging; sycamore back and sides; neck and pegboxes of wood painted black.

Dimensions

Length: 107 cm total length, Length: 47.5 cm length of body, Length: 66.5 cm maximum string length, Length: 48 cm miniumu string length, Width: 35 cm, Depth: 9 cm

Object history note

This instrument formed part of the collections of Carl Engel (1818-1882) and was purchased by this museum for £3.

Descriptive line

Arch cittern, pine soundboard and sycamore back and sides, French, 1780-1800

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. 54

Materials

Pine; Paint; Sycamore

Techniques

Joining; Planing; Painting

Categories

Musical instruments

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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