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Cittern

Cittern

  • Place of origin:

    Germany (made)

  • Date:

    1800 - 1850 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (Made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    joined, carved and planed pine soundboard, back and sides, brass frets

  • Museum number:

    217-1882

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The cittern is a wire-strung instrument, strummed or plucked with a plectrum or quill, like the one that was acquired at the same time as this instrument, which is a rare survival. This version of the cittern was used as a folk instrument in Germany, especially Thuringia and the Hartz mountains, where it was known as a Waldzither.

Physical description

'Belly, back and sides of pine, the plates overhanging the sides. A crudely carved rose. The sides are of even depth and at each side by the neck is applied a halved turned wooden rod, distantly recalling the halved balusters of earlier citterns. Offset neck surmounted by a fingerboard with twelve brass frets not all equally spaced. Pegbox with eight pegs for four double courses of wire, the first three steel, the fourth brass; the numbers of strings are inscribed inside the pegbox, which ends in a lobed, shield-shaped finial.' - Anthony Baines: Catalogue of Musical Instruments in the Victoria and Albert Museum - Part II: Non-keyboard instruments.(London, 1998), p. 47.

Place of Origin

Germany (made)

Date

1800 - 1850 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown (Made)

Materials and Techniques

joined, carved and planed pine soundboard, back and sides, brass frets

Dimensions

Length: 66 cm length total, Length: 29.5 cm length of belly, Width: 21.5 cm, Depth: 4 cm, Length: 35.8 cm string length

Object history note

This instrument was purchased by the Museum for £1 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

Pine body, with quill plectrum, German, 1830-50

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. 47.

Materials

Pine; Brass

Techniques

Carving; Planing; Joining

Categories

Musical instruments

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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