Harp-guitar

about 1835
Emilius Nicolai Scherr (American, 1794–1874)


Object Place: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Dimensions

Length 152 cm, width 33 cm, depth 8.7 cm (Length 59 13/16 in., width 13 in., depth 3 7/16 in.)

Accession Number

2003.343

Medium or Technique

Rosewood, spruce, ivory, brass, steel, nickel silver, sheep gut, silver

Not On View

Collections

Americas, Musical Instruments

Classifications

Chordophones

One-piece back and ribs of rosewood. Belly of spruce stained brown with two circular soundholes. Gold striping along edges of back, ribs, belly, and headstock. Gold decoration at top, center, and bottom of back, comprised of foliate designs and lyre. Neck and headstock veneered with rosewood over core of hardwood. Headstock surmounted by two carved wooden heads of eagles, painted black and gold. Tuning machines of brass and iron with knobs of ivory. Fingerboard of rosewood with three dot fret markers of ivory and nineteen frets of nickel silver. Bridge and carved foliate extensions of rosewood. Nut and bridge buttons (four originals) of ivory. Base of ebonized wood screwed to bottom, with four protruding spikes of brass. Internal construction: six lateral braces on back (one above main soundhole and two below secondary soundhole) straddling shallow longitudinal brace, and six braces on belly (one above main soundhole and two below secondary soundhole).

Inscription

Printed label: EMILIUS N. SCHERR / Piano Forte and Organ Builder & c. / PHILADELPHIA / No. 264 Market Street / all kinds of Musical Instruments Repaired; in gold above main soundhole: PATENT / Harp Guitar.

Provenance

1938, sold by Rebecca Wilder Holmes to the Music Department, Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts; June 1996, loaned by Smith College to the MFA; 2003, sold by Smith College to the MFA. (Accession Date: September 17, 2003)

Credit Line

Museum purchase with funds donated by William and Deborah Elfers