Nail violin

19th century

Object Place: Germany


Length 36 cm, width 17.5 cm, height 12.9 cm (Length 14 3/16 in., width 6 7/8 in., height 5 1/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Wood, iron

Not On View


Musical Instruments



Of wood, with iron nails and iron wire guard. Flat semi- circular sound-box with two C-shaped sound-holes on the top and an oval one on the bottom. Thirty-three iron nails are arranged around the curved side; the tops are protected by a wire guard. The naturals are straight, the sharps have thier tops bent inward. Inside the sound-box is an inverted bridge with three feet glued to the sound-board. Light yellow varnish. Played with a box (missing).


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