Alto viola da gamba (?)

late 19th century

Object Place: England


Length 68.8 cm, width 22 cm (Length 27 1/16 in., width 8 11/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Maple, spruce, ebony

Not On View


Musical Instruments



Long, shallow model, influenced by violin type. Flat back of maple, in two pieces. Ribs of maple, apparently cut down. Belly of pine with raised edges and purfling; scimitar-shaped sound-holes; rosette with the three feathers of the Prince of Wales under the finger-board. Back fitted flush with ribs, belly with overhanging edges as in the violin. Neck and peg-box of pearwood, the head bent back and ending in a square similar to that of English guitars. Finger-board of ebony. Tail-piece of ebony, with slanting top; attached in violin fashion is an end-pin. Five gut strings pass over the violin type bridge (original one lost). Five box-wood pegs. Inside construction: corner blocks as in a violin; two cross-bars and a wide cross- strip glued to the back; deep bass-bar; sound-post. Grayish-brown varnish.


Manuscript label: MADE. BY. / RichARD DUKE. / LONDON. 1786


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