English Guitar thumbnail 1
Not currently on display at the V&A

English Guitar

ca. 1780 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

The English guitar was a fashionable instrument from about 1750, considered easy to play and tuned in C major, although the player would use a capo, much like a modern folk-guitarist, in order to change the key. The tuning pegs were often small metallic pins that could be turned with a watch-key, to keep the strings in tune longer. This instrument was made in Portugal, a country with strong trading links with England, and its peg box is decorated with a paper 'cameo' in imitation of a jasper ware medallion, a motif made popular by Josiah Wedgwood (1730-1795) from about 1770.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Pine back, sides and soundboards, with pine and wood purfling (bordering); brass openwork rose, framed with mother-of-pearl
Brief Description
Portuguese, Joao Vieira da Silva, 1780-85
Dimensions
  • Total length: 78cm
  • Body length: 34cm
  • Width: 31.5cm
  • Depth: 7.5cm
Production typeLimited edition
Marks and Inscriptions
Jaco Vieira da Silva a fez em Lisboa no Prata da Alegria anno de 17 [no manuscript figures inserted] (1) Makers's mark 2) Signature; Portuguese; printed; printed)
Object history
This formed part of the collection of Carl Engel (1919 - 1882), a leading musicologist who published the Descriptive Catalogue of the Musical Instruments in the South Kensington Museum (London, 1874). Engel's collection was bought by the museum in 1882, nos. 150 to 350, for £555. 6s. 0d.

RP 2315/1882

Bought for £3. 10s. 0d.



Summary
The English guitar was a fashionable instrument from about 1750, considered easy to play and tuned in C major, although the player would use a capo, much like a modern folk-guitarist, in order to change the key. The tuning pegs were often small metallic pins that could be turned with a watch-key, to keep the strings in tune longer. This instrument was made in Portugal, a country with strong trading links with England, and its peg box is decorated with a paper 'cameo' in imitation of a jasper ware medallion, a motif made popular by Josiah Wedgwood (1730-1795) from about 1770.
Bibliographic Reference
London, Victoria & Albert Museum: Catalogue of Musical Instruments in the Victoria & Albert Museum. Part II, Anthony Baines: Non-keyboard instruments (London, 1998), pp. 52 - 53.
Collection
Accession Number
208-1882

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record createdFebruary 11, 2004
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