Keyed cittern (English guitar)

late 18th century

Object Place: England


Length 72.5 cm, width 30.5 cm (Length 28 9/16 in., width 12 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Maple, spruce, ebony, brass

Not On View


Musical Instruments



Two-piece back and ribs of maple. Belly of fine-grain spruce with painted purfling encircling soundhole. Back and belly edged with binding of dark brown wood. Stamped rose of brass with figures playing flute and hurdy gurdy, and retaining ring of ivory. Neck and sickle-shaped head of maple terminating in square finial veneered with wood and ivory. Watch-key tuning mechanism of brass. Fingerboard of ebony with three holes for capo and twelve frets of brass. Nut, saddle, and end button of ivory. Bridge of ebonized wood. Ten pins of brass at lower end of body for fastening strings. Ten strings: two singles and four pairs. “Smith’s patent box” screwed to body, with six keys of ivory and hammer mechanism for striking strings. Amber varnish. Internal construction: Six lateral braces on back and X-bracing on belly.


Stamped on key-box: SMITH / PATENT BOX / [royal arms] / LONDON


Francis W. Galpin (1858-1945), Hatfield Regis, England; 1916, sold by Francis W. Galpin to William Lindsey (1858-1922), Boston, Massachusetts; 1916, gift of William Lindsey, in memory of his daughter, Leslie Lindsey Mason, to the MFA. (Accession Date: October 5, 1916)

Credit Line

Leslie Lindsey Mason Collection