Banjo (Whyte Laydie model, style no. 7)

about 1904
A. C. Fairbanks Co. (American, 1891–1893)

Object Place: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Length 95 cm, diameter 30.3 cm (Length 37 3/8 in., diameter 11 15/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Maple, nickel silver, celluloid, ebony, mother-of-pearl

Not On View


Americas, Musical Instruments



Rim of maple with banding of plastic in tortoiseshell pattern and stringing of wood at lower edge in herringbone pattern. “Whyte Laydie” style tone ring system of nickel silver with thirty-one “cobra” hooks and hexagonal ball-end nuts. Period adjustable wire arm rest of nickel silver. Neck of maple, carved in foliate design at heel. Headstock of maple sandwiched between pieces of ebonized pearwood or maple. Tuning pegs of gold-plated brass with knobs of pearl. Fingerboard of ebony with binding of ivory and twenty frets of nickel silver. Fingerboard, neck heel, and both faces of headstock inlaid with pearl engraved with foliate designs and head of griffin. Nut of ivory. Bridge (later) of maple.


Engraved into nickel silver plate on perch pole: The A. C. FAIRBANKS Co. / MAKERS / BOSTON, MASS.; stamped on perch-pole: 23490 WHYTE LAYDIE NO 7


About 1991, sold by Jim Bollman, Arlington, Massachusetts, to a street performer, New York; 1997, sold by same street performer to Jim Bollman; 1997, sold by Jim Bollman, the Music Emporium, Inc., Lexington, Massachusetts, to the MFA. (Accession Date: May 21, 1997)

Credit Line

Foster Charitable Fund