Nine-string guitar

René-François Lacôte (French, 1785–1855)

Object Place: Paris, France


Length 92 cm, width 30 cm (Length 36 1/4 in., width 11 13/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Mahogany, maple, spruce, ebony, whale bone, silver, nickel silver, sheep gut

Not On View


Europe, Musical Instruments



One-piece back of mahogany over substrate of spruce. Ribs of solid mahogany. Two-piece belly of fine-grain spruce. Multi-line binding of ebony and whalebone around edges of belly and soundhole. Neck of mahogany. Headstock of maple sandwiched by mahogany; face ebonized. Tuning pegs of rosewood. Nut and fingerboard of ebony with seventeen frets of nickel silver. Bridge, finger rest, and string holder of maple. Six main strings and three diapason strings. Internal construction: Four lateral braces on back and five on belly (two above soundhole). Original case of wood lined with green wool.


Stamped on headstock: Lacote, / a Paris / PAR BREVETE, / D'INVENTION; printed label: Place des Victoirea, / No. 5 / LACOTE, / Luthier / a Paris / Annee 182 [handwritten: 7]; Printed labels on case: Eugène Petetin / ANCIEN OFFICiER DE MARINE / [handwritten: 32, no. du Luxembourg / Paris / 9 Cordes …]


Before 1858, Eugène Peletin, Paris, France, a student of the French guitar virtuoso Napoleon Coste (1805-1883). Before 2000, sold by source unidentified, the Hotel Drouot, to a dealer, Paris; by 2000, sold by same dealer to Tony Bingham, London, England; 2000, sold by Bingham to the MFA. (Accession Date: April 26, 2000)

Credit Line

Museum purchase with funds donated anonymously through the Joseph Bishop Van Sciver Fund (1861-1943) of The Boston Foundation and an anonymous donor