Lyre guitar

Joseph Pons (French, born in 1776)

Object Place: Paris, France


Length 87.5 cm, width 45.8 cm (Length 34 7/16 in., width 18 1/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Satinwood, spruce, mahogany, ebony, ivory, mother-of-pearl, nickel silver, sheep gut, silver, semi-precious stones, paste

On View

Musical Instrument Gallery (Gallery 103D)


Europe, Musical Instruments



Two-piece back and ribs of satinwood. Belly of fine-grain spruce with binding of ebony. Triple-line stringing along edges of belly and encircling soundholes. Two rosettes composed of gilded eight-petal flowers and leaves. Engraved and monogrammed shield of pearl inlaid into belly. Moldings of ebony along base of body. Neck of ebonized wood. Fluted columns of mahogany supporting yoke of gilded wood, terminating in carved spirals with acanthus leaves and pineapple at center. Tuning pegs of ebony. Fingerboard of ebony with fifteen frets of nickel silver (?). Nut of ivory. Bridge of ebonized wood and pearl, terminating in “moustaches.” Bridge pins of ebony. Imitation gemstones at center of rosettes, yoke spirals, bridge pins, and tuning pegs. Buttons of ebony and pearl at heel of neck base of body for player’s strap. Original coffin-type case of wood lined with green wool, bearing same monogram as on instrument.


Engraved into pearl shield on belly: Pons Fils/ A/ PARIS/ 1810


Engraved into pearl shield on belly: Pons Fils / A / PARIS / 1810


By 2000, sold by a dealer, France, to Tony Bingham, London, England; 2000, sold by Bingham to the MFA. (Accession Date: October 25, 2000)

Credit Line

Museum purchase with funds donated by Bradford M. and Dorothea R. Endicott