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Neapolitan mandolin

Neapolitan mandolin

  • Place of origin:

    Naples (Made)

  • Date:

    1772 (Made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Vinaccia, Antonio (Made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Planed and joined maple ribs with ivory stringing; planed pine, inlaid with mother-of-pearl and tortoiseshell; mother-of-pearl and tortoiseshell inlaid fingerboard with silver frets.

  • Museum number:

    10-1894

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Antonio Vinaccia (active 1763-1784) belonged to a family who made highly sought after mandolines in Naples. This example is a 'Neapolitan' mandolin, a version developed in the 1760s. It is tuned like a violin, and played with a pick. The 'Neapolitan' mandolin enjoyed popularity at the ends of both the 18th and 19th centuries and featured in the works of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) and Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901).

Physical description

'Body of twenty-one fluted ribs of maple with ivory intervening stringing and a fancy fretted lace. The belly is bent inwards at bridge-level and has a circular soundhole surrounded with a band of tortoiseshell and mother-of-pearl marquetry with figures. There is similar marquetry, but of a formal nature, on the fingerboard and the lower end of the belly. On the latter also a tortoiseshell protector plate between soundhole and bridge. The neck is banded with mother-of-pearl and tortoiseshell backed with metal foil. There are ten silver frets. The shaped flat head has eight rear pegs, for four double courses of wire strings (two steel, one brass, one overspun).'

Anthony Baines, Catalogue of Musical Instruments in the Victoria and Albert Museum - Part II: Non-Keyboard Instruments (London, 1978), p. 39.

Place of Origin

Naples (Made)

Date

1772 (Made)

Artist/maker

Vinaccia, Antonio (Made)

Materials and Techniques

Planed and joined maple ribs with ivory stringing; planed pine, inlaid with mother-of-pearl and tortoiseshell; mother-of-pearl and tortoiseshell inlaid fingerboard with silver frets.

Marks and inscriptions

Antonius Vinaccia Fecit/ Neapoli in via Constantini/ Ao 1772
Antonio Vinaccia made/ in Naples in Via Constantini/ in the year 1772
Written in ink on a label on the inside of the instrument.

Dimensions

Length: 57 cm Total, Length: 28 cm length of body, Length: 14 cm length of neck, Length: 32.5 cm length of string, Width: 17.8 cm

Object history note

This instrument was purchased by the museum for £25 from Messrs Durlacher, 23a Old Bond Street, London.

Descriptive line

Neapolitan mandolin, maple ribs, mother of pearl and tortoise shell inlay, A.Vinaccia, Naples. Italian, 1772,

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. 39

Materials

Maple; Ivory; Pine; Mother-of-pearl; Tortoise shell; Silver

Techniques

Planing; Stringing; Inlay

Categories

Musical instruments

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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