Apollo Lyre thumbnail 1
Not currently on display at the V&A

Apollo Lyre

Guitar Lyre
ca. 1813 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

Variants of guitars, shaped like harps or ancient lyres, were much in vogue in Great Britain, France and Germany between about 1810 and 1830. They were mostly played by fashionable ladies to accompany themselves singing, but this particular instrument was used by the orchestra of the Royal Pavilion at Brighton. Robert Warnum the elder (ca. 1742–1815) traded from 42 Wigmore Street, London, publishing music and selling pianos and stringed instruments. His son, also called Robert (1780–1852), carried on the business, and although he specialised in pianos, it was most likely he who capitalized on this particular craze.

Object details

Categories
Object type
TitleApollo Lyre (popular title)
Materials and techniques
Sycamore and painted pine
Brief description
The 'Apollo Lyre', Back of Sycamore and top painted pine, by Robert Wornum, England (London), about 1813
Physical description
Back of Sycamore and top painted pine. The tuning box is hidden behind an Apollo mask. The instrument is strung with six strings, and was tuned like the English Guitar, in the key of C major. Inscribed 'R.Wornum Maker 42 Wigmore St. Cavendish Sq.'
Dimensions
  • Length: 85 (Note: Length total)
  • Length: 31 (Note: Belly excluding arms)
  • Width: 40
  • Depth: 7 (Note: At neck)
  • Length: 54 (Note: String length)
Measurements taken from file
Marks and inscriptions
'R.Wornum Maker 42 Wigmore St. Cavendish Sq.' (Inscribed)
Gallery label
APOLLO LYRE By Robert Wornum, about 1813 Inscribed R.Wornum Maker 42 Wigmore St. Cavendish Sq. Back of Sycamore and top painted pine. The tuning box is hidden behind an Apollo mask. The instrument is strung with six strings, and was tuned like the English Guitar, in the key of C major. Non-Keyboard Catalogue No.: 13/3 Robert Wornum (1742-1815) operated from Wigmore Street from 1777 until 1815. His firm published music and made violins, cellos and pianos. 891-1875(pre September 2000)
Object history
This instrument was given to the South Kensington Museum in 1875 by H.W.Henfrey, Brookchurch, Bonchurch, Isle of Wight. At the time that it was acquired it was described as 'formerly belonging to the Prince Regent's band at the Royal Pavilion, Brighton'
Subjects depicted
Summary
Variants of guitars, shaped like harps or ancient lyres, were much in vogue in Great Britain, France and Germany between about 1810 and 1830. They were mostly played by fashionable ladies to accompany themselves singing, but this particular instrument was used by the orchestra of the Royal Pavilion at Brighton. Robert Warnum the elder (ca. 1742–1815) traded from 42 Wigmore Street, London, publishing music and selling pianos and stringed instruments. His son, also called Robert (1780–1852), carried on the business, and although he specialised in pianos, it was most likely he who capitalized on this particular craze.
Bibliographic reference
Anthony Baines: Catalogue of Musical Instruments in the Victoria and Albert Museum - Part II: Non-keyboard insturments. (London, 1998), pp. 65 - 66.
Collection
Accession number
891-1875

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Record createdMay 16, 2001
Record URL
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