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Round backed cittern

Round backed cittern

  • Place of origin:

    France (probably?, Made)
    England (possibly?, Made)

  • Date:

    1757 (Made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (Made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    planed sycamore and ebony ribs, planed pine belly, inlaid ebony, ivory and mother-of-pearl star pattern.

  • Museum number:

    197-1882

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This instrument is a late version of the cittern. It is fitted with metal frets and strings, and built with a lute-shaped back. The musician would have played it with fingers or with a quill. This example has holes in the neck into which one could screw a 'capo', a bar-like device that made it easier to play in different keys. This instrument may have been made in France, where it would have been known as a pandore.

Physical description

'Body of twenty-one ribs of sycamore and black (ebony?) intervening stringing. Six ebony hitch studs at the base. Belly with open soundhole. The neck resembles that of 11/16 [round-back cittern, Museum No.: 202-1882] but the fingerboard has seventeen frets and four capotasto holes. The marquetry star-pattern in ebony, ivory, mother-of-pearl, and a brown wood.' - Anthony Baines:Catalogue of Musical Instruments in the Victoria and Albert Museum - Part II: Non-keyboard instruments (London, 1998), pp. 55.

Place of Origin

France (probably?, Made)
England (possibly?, Made)

Date

1757 (Made)

Artist/maker

Unknown (Made)

Materials and Techniques

planed sycamore and ebony ribs, planed pine belly, inlaid ebony, ivory and mother-of-pearl star pattern.

Marks and inscriptions

1757
Written in ink on the back.

Dimensions

Length: 76 cm total, Length: 38 cm length of belly, Width: 26 cm, Length: 45.5 cm string length

Object history note

This instrument was purchased by the Museum for £1 - 10 - 0 (£1.50) in 1882. It had been part of the collections of Carl Engel (1818-1882), an eminent musicologist from Hanover, who published the Descriptive Catalogue of the Musical Instruments in the South Kensington Museum in 1874. The South Kensington Museum has been known as the Victoria & Albert Museum since 1899.

Descriptive line

Round backed cittern, sycamore ribs, French (or possibly English?), 1757.

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), pp. 55.

Production Note

"The contour of the body suggests a copy of the similar, though superior, round-backed citterns by Deleplanque of Lille, dated 1766, etc., while the presence of seventeen frets also suggests French work" - Anthony Baines:Catalogue of Musical Instruments in the Victoria and Albert Museum - Part II: Non-keyboard instruments.(London, 1998), pp. 55.

Materials

Sycamore; Ebony; Ivory; Mother of pearl

Techniques

Planing; Inlay

Categories

Musical instruments

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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