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British lute

Type or system: 16 strings. Technical description: The soundbox consists of three staves, the outer two are smoothly bent; the soundbox has one oblong hole. There are four horizontally attached harmonic bars under the soundboard and a thin piece of wood is under the bridge. The pin-bridge has sixteen holes and a triangular swell on which strings pass. The top three strings pass over a small fingerboard, the others are floating. The pitch of the strings may be changed by moving them on the nuts. There are 16 nuts, one for each string. Sixteen brass tuning pins are mounted on the neck. Number of frets: 10 on the fingerboard. Decorative features: The instrument is entirely painted in black. The soundbox has gold paintings of floral patterns on the edge and around the soundhole in which a carved rose is attached. The design of the soundboard paintings matches those on the pillar. The pillar is of the Corinthian order, and on top of the capital (top part of the pillar) there is a gilded decoration mounted on a pilaster.

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  • Inscriptions:Inscribed on the heel block "E. Light, Inventor, / of the British Lute, / 38 Berner St, London. No 12".
  • Hornbostel-Sachs category:321.321-5 Necked bowl lutes sounded by the bare fingers
  • Repository:Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
  • Measurements:Overall size: 785. Body length: 398. Body width: 340. Body depth: 100 - 70. String length: >252 - 603.