Keyed cittern (English guitar)

Distributed by Longman & Broderip (English, active 1776–1798)

Object Place: London, England


Length 69.5 cm, width 30.5 cm (Length 27 3/8 in., width 12 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Maple, spruce, ivory

On View

Musical Instrument Gallery (Gallery 103D)


Musical Instruments



Pear-shaped body with flat back. Back, ribs, and neck of slab-cut maple. Belly of spruce with slightly-domed ivory rose, carved and pierced with six-pointed stars, urn with swags, and monogram “A R L.” Black single-line stringing and painted green leaves encircling rose and perimeter of back and belly. Back and belly edged with barber-pole binding. Fingerboard of ivory with thirteen brass frets and four holes for capo tasto bar of ivory with brass wing-nut. Sickle-shaped head with square finial faced with tortoiseshell. Watch-key-type tuning mechanism of brass engraved with foliate designs. Nut and bridge of ivory. Amber-colored varnish. Six courses of strings in two singles, two pairs and two triples, hitched to ivory buttons at bottom. Integral, piano-hammer action with six leather-covered hammers (removable through end of body) striking strings through holes in rose. Mother-of-pearl piano keys covered by silver housing engraved with monogram and foliate border. Two knobs of ivory at end of body for neck strap and action removal. Includes leather-bound wood case stamped with various patterns.


Stamped on back of neck: LONGMAN & BRODERIP / No. 26 CHEAPSIDE & / No. 13 HAY-MARKET / LONDON; handwritten in ink on hammer mechanism: T. B / July / 1798 [and] D. P. x


Before 1998, Michael O'Shea, Brighton, England; by 1998, sold by O'Shea to Sotheby's London; November 4, 1998, sold by Sotheby's London, lot 134, to Tony Bingham for the MFA. (Accession Date: January 27, 1999)

Credit Line

Samuel Putnam Avery Fund