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Bell cittern

'A bell cittern or Hamburg Cithrinchen. Bell-shaped outline. Slightly arched back. This, like the sides, surrounds to the roses in the belly, and the pegbox is decorated with complex floral patterns and mythological figures, executed in marquetry of ivory and tortoiseshell, set in places with gems of coloured glass or paste. Belly of pearwood, with three sunk roses constructed with intricately cut vellum. The sides taper towards the base. The bridge is modern. The offset neck is surmounted by a tortoiseshell and ivory marquetry fingerboard with silver frets. The pegbox has a wooden finial in the form of a woman's head studded with ivory to simulate strings of pearls. Five double courses, though of the original ten pegs only three remain, the rest being modern. The frets run up to no. 19, nos. 16 and 17 being fractional and 18 omitted. An inscription roughly scratched on the neck reads: C'Est trop tard.' Adapted from Anthony Baines, Catalogue of Musical Instruments in the Victoria and Albert Museum. Part II: Non-Keyboard Instruments (London, 1978), pp. 45-6.

  • Date:
    ca. 1700 (made)
  • Maker:
    Tielke, Joachim [Person]
  • Collection:
    Victoria and Albert Museum
  • Inventory number:
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  • Place of production:
    Hamburg (city)
  • Culture:
  • Period:
  • Materials:Pearwood with marquetry of turtle shell and ivory, with faceted coloured glass or paste, seed pearls, cut vellum and silver
  • Specific materials/techniques:
  • Decorative elements:
  • Inscriptions:IOACHIM : TIELKE IN HAMb├║rg 1539 C'Est trop tard "it's too late"
  • Hornbostel-Sachs category:
  • Repository:Victoria and Albert Museum
  • Measurements:Length: 64 cm, Width: 24 cm maximum, Depth: 4.7 cm Depth of neck, Length: 36 cm string length