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Edward Light Table Harp-lute , c. 1815

Edward Light  Table Harp-lute ,  c. 1815

Edward Light Table Harp-lute, c. 1815, made in London, gilt borders on black varnish finish, chestnut back and sides, composition base, spruce top and ivory segmented nut.

Lute neck bears handpainted gold script reading "582 Light Foley Place London". Harp style column on the bass side and short fretted lute neck with wide fingerboard on the treble side. One piece curved back with single slot shaped sound hole at center. Five open harp strings, seven lute strings, one articulated "dital" (a thumb activated pitch raising device), and three ring-stops. Straight bridge is non-pin type with strings which are to be loop-hitched.

Handpainted gold and decal designs depicting grapes, leaves, and vines; acorns and leaves around top. Cherub playing harp; sun-ray rosette and pillar with gilt highlights.

This was the second of three harp-like designs developed by London organist Edward Light (b. 1747). Later versions by Light were more lyre in style. Most had a multiple stave construction for the back making this one piece version somewhat out of the ordinary. These instruments were most likely made by Barry & Harley of London, who were craftsmen active from 1798 to 1820.

Similar to the extant example in London's Victoria and Albert Museum, this unique instrument was first publicized in 1815. The Harp-lute, and somewhat more common six string Lyre-guitar and Harp-guitar, became popular for a brief period "reflecting times when ladies' fashions extended to small musical instruments, in this case married to the neo-classical pose" (Baines).
Overall length is 32 7/8 in. (83.5 cm.), 12 7/8 in. (32.7 cm.) width, and 4 1/2 in. (11.4 cm.) in depth at side, taken at the end block. Scale length is 15 5/8 in. (397 mm.).

Offered as an historical piece. No revisions or changes have been made to this instrument. Some edges around base are missing the decorative moldings and show signs of wear. Small (1") section of composition molding also missing from harp column. Two cracks in soundboard and back has one full length crack down center. Overall Original Artifact. Unrestored Condition.

Item # 1111
This item has been sold.

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