Jacopo Checchucci (Italian, active early 17th century)

Object Place: Livorno, Italy


Length 90 cm, width 25.5 cm, depth 12 cm (Length 35 7/16 in., width 10 1/16 in., depth 4 3/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Ebony, spruce, ivory, sheep gut, brass, mastic

On View

Musical Instrument Gallery (Gallery 103D)


Europe, Musical Instruments



Arched back comprised of seventeen ribs of ebony over pine substrate, each separated by two thin strips of ivory and inlaid with ivory in pattern of scrolling tendrils. Sides decorated similarly. Belly of fine-grain spruce, inlaid with arabesques of black mastic. Heraldic device of double-headed eagle inlaid at neck juncture and waist of body on both sides. Tiered rose of gilded parchment with red accents. Binding comprised of parallelograms of ivory and triangles of black mastic along edges of belly and around soundhole. Neck, headstock, and fingerboard veneered with ebony and inlaid similarly to body. Tuning pegs of ivory (unmatched set). Eight tied-on frets of gut and five (later) frets of ebony. Nut of ivory. Bridge (modern) of ebony. End button (modern) of brass. Ten strings in five pairs. Internal construction: Three lateral braces on belly; two below soundhole angled slightly downward from treble to bass. Modern hardshell case.


Printed label: Jacopo Checchucci in / Liuorno 162[handwritten:8]


After 1628, probably owned by a member of the royal house of Hapsburg, based on the presence of the heraldic emblem of a double-headed eagle incorporated into the decoration. About 1900 or earlier, the guitar is pictured in an album, in the front of which is written "album de photographie des Instruments de Musique composant la collection de ceux-ci, formée par mon oncle Charles Petit, à Blois." About 1960, sold by source unidentified to a collector, France; by 2001, by inheritance to his son, France; by 2001, sold to Tony Bingham, London, England; 2001, sold by Bingham to the MFA. (Accession Date: December 12, 2001)

Credit Line

Museum purchase with funds donated anonymously, Frank B. Bemis Fund, Morris and Louise Rosenthal Fund, Frank T. Gangi—Global NAPs, Elizabeth Marie Paramino Fund in memory of John F. Paramino, Boston Sculptor, Jane Marsland and Judith A. Marsland Fund, Mrs. Ralph P. Rudnick, and by exchange from Gift of Joseph R. Coolidge in memory of his wife, Peggy Stuart Coolidge, Gift of Mrs. Eleanor H. Wicher, Gift of Mrs. Ruth P. Chase, and Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Vincent Pattavina