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English guitar

English guitar

  • Place of origin:

    Dublin (Made)

  • Date:

    1765-1790 (Made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Perry, Thomas (Made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Planed and joined sycamore back and side, pine belly with ink bordering; carved and planed ivory fingerboard with brass frets; gilt copper rose; brass tuning pegs; turned ivory kitch studs.

  • Museum number:

    223-1882

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The English guitar was derived from the cittern, a wire-strung instrument, widely played by fashionable ladies in the British Isles from about 1750 until 1810. It has six courses , four double and two single metal strings, tuned in the key of C. This instrument was built by Thomas Perry (c. 1745-1818), of Dublin, who was probably Ireland's finest luthier in his day. The use of an ivory fingerboard was a characteristic of Perry's work.

Physical description

"Fairly large-sized in the ordinary pear-shaped model. Back of one piece of sycamore. Belly with purfling simulated in ink, and a gilt rose of stamped copper in a pattern of musical instruments with a putto in the centre. The loose bridge is of wood in a curious shape with two spatulate feet. Seven ivory hitch studs at the base of the body.

The ivory fingerboard has fifteen brass frets and six capotasto holes. The head has worm machine tuning with ring-shaped fingerpieces, similar to 11/3 [Museum no. W.7-1919]. The finial in the form of a Negro head is of inferior carving and possibly a later addition." - Anthony Baines: Catalogue of Musical Instruments in the Victoria and Albert Museum - Part II: Non-keyboard instruments (London, 1998), p. 50.

Place of Origin

Dublin (Made)

Date

1765-1790 (Made)

Artist/maker

Perry, Thomas (Made)

Materials and Techniques

Planed and joined sycamore back and side, pine belly with ink bordering; carved and planed ivory fingerboard with brass frets; gilt copper rose; brass tuning pegs; turned ivory kitch studs.

Marks and inscriptions

Perry/ Dublin
Stamped on the back of the instrument

Dimensions

Length: 85 cm length total, Length: 46 cm string length, Length: 37 cm length of body, Width: 31 cm, Depth: 5.4 cm

Object history note

This instrument formed part of the collections of Carl Engel (1818-1882) and was purchased by this museum for £2 in 1882.

Descriptive line

English guitar, sycamore back and sides and ivory fingerboard, Thomas Perry, Dublin, Irish 1765-90.

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. 50

Materials

Sycamore; Pine; Ivory; Brass; Copper; Gold leaf

Techniques

Planing; Joining; Carving; Gilding

Categories

Musical instruments

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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