Mandolin thumbnail 1
Mandolin thumbnail 2
Not currently on display at the V&A

Mandolin

1865 (Made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This mandolin is dated 1865 on a mother-or-pearl oval on the soundboard. However, its maker, Antonio Petroni (active 1860-1870) of Rome, described himself on the label inside as a prize-winner (premiato) at the Universal Exhibition of Paris in 1867, although in fact he received an Honourable Mention for his string instruments. This instrument was said to have been made for Queen Margherita of Italy (1851-1926) but its case bears an incorrect version of the Italian royal coat of arms - the heraldic cross is like a Swiss cross, when in fact it should span the whole shield. This example is a 'Neapolitan' mandolin, the 'Milanese' version having died out by the 1860s. It is fitted with metal strings, tuned like a violin and played with a pick.


object details
Category
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Mandolin
  • Mandolin Case
Materials and Techniques
Brief Description
Mandolin, ebony, mother-of-pearl and ivory decoration, with inlaid mahogany case, Antonio Petroni, Italian (Rome), 1865.
Physical Description
"Body of six wide, not fluted, ribs of ebony with formal decoration of mother-of-pearl and ivory all over. The belly, bent inwards at bridge-level, has a round soundhole and an ebony protector plate which, like the borders, the back of the neck and the fingerboard, is decorated in the same manner. The fingerboard extends on to the belly and has seventeen brass frets (of flat strip). The flat head, with curved upper edge is mounted with an engraved silver plate covering a radially arranged screw tuning for the four double courses of wire."

Anthony Baines, Catalogue of Musical Instruments in the Victoria and Albert Museum - Part II: Non-keyboard instruments (London, 1998), pp. 40-41.
DimensionsTaken from Anthony Baines: Catalogue of Musical Instruments in the Victoria and Albert Museum - Part II: Non-keyboard instruments. (London, 1998), pp. 40 - 41.
Marks and Inscriptions
  • "Fabbrica d'istrumenti/ di Antonio Petroni/ Premiato all'Esposizione Universale di Parigi del 1869. Roma. Via Londevini." (Printed on the label inside the instrument.)
  • "A. Petroni/ No 50 Via Carrozza/ in/ Roma 1865." (Engraved on a small mother-of-pearl oval at the bottom of the soundboard.)
Gallery Label
MANDOLIN Italiana By Antonio Petroni, Rome, 1865 The label reads Fabbrica d'istrumenti/ di Antonio Petroni/ Premiato all' Esposizione Universale di Parigi del 1867. Via Lodevini. A mother of pearl oval reads A.Petroni/ No. 50 Via Carrozza/ in Roma 1865. The mahogany case is decorated with the arms of the House of Savoy. Non-Keyboard Catalogue No: 8/9 The instrument is said to have belonged to Queen Margherita of Italy. 924-1902(pre September 2000)
Credit line
Given by Robert Stalks, Esq.
Object history
This instrument was given to the Museum by Robert Storks, Esq., and is said to have been made for Queen Margherita of Italy (1851-1926).. It was mentioned by Oscar Comettant in La Musique, les musiciens ... (see References) as being on display with a violin inlaid with mother of pearl stars at the Exposition Universelle at Paris in 1867. Comettant described it as 'une très-jolie [sic] mandoline en ébène de Petroni' (a very pretty mandolin in ebony by Petroni).
Summary
This mandolin is dated 1865 on a mother-or-pearl oval on the soundboard. However, its maker, Antonio Petroni (active 1860-1870) of Rome, described himself on the label inside as a prize-winner (premiato) at the Universal Exhibition of Paris in 1867, although in fact he received an Honourable Mention for his string instruments. This instrument was said to have been made for Queen Margherita of Italy (1851-1926) but its case bears an incorrect version of the Italian royal coat of arms - the heraldic cross is like a Swiss cross, when in fact it should span the whole shield. This example is a 'Neapolitan' mandolin, the 'Milanese' version having died out by the 1860s. It is fitted with metal strings, tuned like a violin and played with a pick.
Bibliographic References
  • Anthony Baines, Catalogue of Musical Instruments in the Victoria and Albert Museum - Part II: Non-keyboard instruments (London, 1998), pp. 40-41.
  • Oscar Comettant,La Musique, les musiciens et les instruments de Musique chez les différens peuples du monde (Paris, 1867), p. 657.
Collection
Accession Number
924-1902

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record createdMay 16, 2001
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