This hybrid instrument is a "Regency" style harp-lute, a slight modified version of Edward Light's harp-lutes that were developed in the early 19th century, combining elements of the then highly popular harp and English guitar (guittar). Charles Wheatstone added a second fingerboard and called the instrument "Regency" harp-lute. It is basically a plucked stringed instrument in the shape of a combined lute-harp, with vaulted-back and harp-like column and neck. The back is made of seven ribs of maple with two flat-oval openings at the center. The top is made of spruce and has a round soundhole (the top is currently screwed onto the body, which is not original to the construction of the instrument). The instrument has raised double-fingerboards on the ebonized (i.e. black-painted or -stained) neck, which have brass frets (seven frets on the first fingerboard, and nine frets on the second - one fret missing on each) and ivory nuts. The neck has accommodation for fourteen gut strings (only two are still intact), of which three are stopped by lever-operated brass keys/push-studs. There are also four additional rotating brass rings and three button push-studs that could be used to change the pitch of the strings. The first six treble strings would be played along the fretted fingerboards. The tuning pins are made of brass and have a square shape. The bridge (also screwed onto the soundboard) has dark-wood bridge pins with mother-of-pearl dot-inlay. The instrument has four brass knobs on the bottom as supporting feet.
Wheatstone, Charles [Person]
Stroud District (Cowle) Museum
- Inventory number:
- Place of production:
London (Timezone: Europe/London)
- Hornbostel-Sachs classification:321.321-5 Necked bowl lutes sounded by the bare fingers
- Specific materials/techniques:
- Decorative elements:
- Inscriptions:Engraved in metal plate just above the neck: C. WHEATSTONE, / INVENTOR, / 20 Conduit St. Regent St., / LONDON.
- Hornbostel-Sachs category:321.321-5 Necked bowl lutes sounded by the bare fingers
- Repository:Stroud District (Cowle) Museum
- Measurements:Height: 855mm; Width: 355mm; Depth: 135mm