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Harp-guitar

Harp-guitar

  • Place of origin:

    England (Made)

  • Date:

    1815-1830 (Made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (Made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Joined, planed and painted pine sound board, stained wood (maple?) back and sides, brass frets, ivory bar on bridge.

  • Museum number:

    242-1882

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Variants on guitars known as 'harp-guitars' were highly fashionable in England from about 1810 until about 1830. This was largely owing to the enthusiasm of Princess Charlotte (1796-1817), daughter of the Prince Regent, for such instruments. This example has eight strings and was probably played much like a Spanish guitar with two extra strings in the bass. The current peg box and bridge were probably added at a later date.

Physical description

'Rounded body of three pieces with a curved piece closing the bottom, all stained as 13/5 [Harp-Guitar by Clementi & Co (Museum no. 243-1882)]. Belly with simple painted borders of black and gold, and with a fretted rose identical with 13/5 and a pin bridge topped by an ivory bar which slants up to the treble side. The neck is thinned down the bass side, and the seventeen frets on the flat finger board are of brass T-section fret wire. The wide Spanish-guitar type of head has eight machines. Of the eight gut strings, the two on the bass side are separated by a small extra distance from the others.' - Anthony Baines: Catalogue of Musical Instruments in the Victoria and Albert Museum - Part II: Non-keyboard instruments (London, 1998), p. 67

Place of Origin

England (Made)

Date

1815-1830 (Made)

Artist/maker

Unknown (Made)

Materials and Techniques

Joined, planed and painted pine sound board, stained wood (maple?) back and sides, brass frets, ivory bar on bridge.

Dimensions

Length: 92 cm total length, Length: 44 cm length of belly, Width: 31.5 cm, Length: 63 cm length of string, Width: 6.8 cm Width of the nut at top of the neck

Object history note

This instrument was purchased by the Museum for £2 - 10 - 0 (£2.50) 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

Harp-guitar, English, 1815-1830

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. 67

Materials

Pine; Ivory; Brass

Techniques

Painting; Staining; Joining; Planing

Categories

Musical instruments

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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