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Harp-lute

Harp-lute

  • Place of origin:

    London (Made)

  • Date:

    about 1816 (Made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Light, Edward (Made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted and gilded wooden back (probably maple or sycamore), painted pine soundboard.

  • Credit Line:

    Given to the Museum by Miss Edith H. Pilkington

  • Museum number:

    W.33-1925

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

In 1816 Edward Light (c. 1747-c.1832) patented the 'British harp-lute', a combination of both instruments, with a fingerboard which extended the range of the top two strings, and 12 finger-operated stops which raised the strings a semi-tone. He made elegant variants on the harp, guitar and lute fashionable amongst ladies, largely through connections with his pupil, Princess Charlotte (1796-1817), daughter of the Prince Regent, and an enthusiastic player of these instruments.

Physical description

"Similar body to the preceding, but with a base allowing the instrument to stand. [i.e. harp-lute by Edward Light, c. 1810 (Museum no. 37-1873) and unsigned harp-lute, c. 1815 (Museum no. 252-1882): Both have 'a body of seven ribs, with two sound slots in the centre rib.'] The belly is varnished and decorated with a dark border painted with flowers. Pin bridge and open soundhole. On the capital of the pilar is an angel painted in gold. The harmonic curve is pierced with a kidney-shaped hole, as in the preceding example, and forms with the neck one continuous curved member. The small fingerboard on the body, with nine ivory frets, is for the shortest two strings only, There are two ring stops and ten ditals." Antony Baines, Catalogue of Musical Instruments in the Victoria and Albert Museum - Part II: Non-keyboard instruments (London, 1998), pp. 68-69.

Place of Origin

London (Made)

Date

about 1816 (Made)

Artist/maker

Light, Edward (Made)

Materials and Techniques

Painted and gilded wooden back (probably maple or sycamore), painted pine soundboard.

Marks and inscriptions

Light. Foley Place/ London. Patent, No. 58
Inscribed in gold paint on the flat top of the body of the instrument.

Dimensions

Length: 83 cm, Width: 33 cm, Length: 70 cm maximum string length, Length: 20 cm minimum string length

Object history note

This instrument was given to the Museum in 1925 by Miss Edith H. Pilkington.

Descriptive line

Harp-lute, Edward Light, London, English, c. 1816.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Antony Baines: Catalogue of Musical Instruments in the Victoria and Albert Museum - Part II: Non-keyboard instruments. (London, 1998), pp. 68-69.

Materials

Pine; Maple; Gold leaf

Techniques

Planing; Joining; Painting; Gilding

Categories

Musical instruments

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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