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Virtual Tour of
"Beethoven & Berlioz, Paris & Vienna:
Musical Treasures from the Age of Revolution & Romance
1789-1848"


Guitar by Antoine Aubry, Mirecourt, 1779

NMM 5581. Guitar by Antoine Aubry, Mirecourt, France, 1779

NMM 5581. Guitar by Antoine Aubry (active 1778-1784), Mirecourt, 1779. Ornately decorated with choice veneers of Macassar ebony and applewood on the sides and back, the rose in the soundhole, and the edging in tortoiseshell and mother-of-pearl, this elaborate instrument is a throw-back to the 17th-century French and Italian guitar tradition, with five double courses of strings, rather than the six strings that would soon be the standard. The market for highly ornate guitars such as this one declined dramatically following the upheaval of the monied aristocracy during the French Revolution of 1789. Rawlins Fund, 1993.


Maker's label

Maker's signature: faite par Moy antoine / Aubry á Mircourt / 1779

Click on any image on this page to see an enlargement.


Front, Back, and Side Views

NMM 5581. Guitar by Antoine Aubry, Mirecourt, France, 1779 Bass side view Treble side view Back view

Macassar ebony and applewood with boxwood stringing and banding, purfled with ebony-and-boxwood edge banding on the back and ebony-and-boxwood purfling with chevron strips of alternating mother-of-pearl and tortoise-shell separated by alternating dual bands of ivory and ebony. Table of fine-grained spruce.


Front, Back, and Side of Body

Front Bass side Treble side Back

Bottom


Front, Back, and Side Views of Peghead

Front Bass side Treble side Back


Front, Back, and Side Views of Neck

Ivory inlay Fretboard Bass side Treble side Back Neck heel

The neck face is inlaid with geometric motifs in ivory, mother-of-pearl, and ebony. Ten boxwood pegs.


Rose and Bridge

Rose

Soundhole rosette of pear wood. Inlaid soundhole rose of tortoise-shell and mother-of-pearl similar in pattern to the edge banding.


Ebony bridge is of later (possibly English) manufacture.

Rose


Measurements

 

Overall length:  902 mm (including bottom button of 9 mm)
Body length:  428 mm
Lower bout width:  257.5 mm at the back; 261 at the front
Center bout width (waist):  153.5 mm at the back; 157 mm at the front
Upper bout width:  195 at the back; 195.5 at the front
Maximum rib depth:  104 (at the center of the bottom), including back and soundboard; estimated 98.5 mm without back and soundboard
Minimum rib depth:  94 (at neck), including back and soundboard
String length:  638.5 mm
Rose diameter:  77 mm
Stop (portion of the string over the soundboard):  344.5 mm


Lit:  "Important Instruments Acquired in 1993," The Shrine to Music Museum Newsletter 21, No. 2 (January 1994), p. 2.

André P. Larson, "Guitar, Antoine Aubry, Mirecourt, France, 1779," South Dakota Musician 28, No. 3 (Spring 1994), cover, p. 24.

Darcy Kuronen, Dangerous Curves: The Art of the Guitar (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 2001), pp. 33, 220.

André P. Larson, Beethoven & Berlioz, Paris & Vienna: Musical Treasures from the Age of Revolution & Romance 1789-1848, with essay by John Koster, exhibition catalog, Washington Pavilion, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, September 12-November 2, 2003 (Vermillion: National Music Museum 2003), p. 66.

Steve Beckermann, Rusty Freeman, Michael Keller, and Michael J. Olsen, Art of the Guitar: A Luthier's Renaissance, Catalog of Exhibition at the Plains Art Museum, Fargo, North Dakota, February 26-June 7, 2009 (Fargo: Plains Art Museum, 2009), pp. 6 and 15.


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Most recent update: February 26, 2014

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