Viola d'amore

mid 18th century

Object Place: Probably Prague, Czech Republic


Length 74.7 cm, width 24.2 cm (Length 29 7/16 in., width 9 1/2 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Maple, spruce, ebony

Not On View


Musical Instruments



Viol type body, shallow model. Flat back of maple, in two pieces. Ribs of maple. Belly of pine, highly arched between middle bouts; inlaid purfling, flame type sound-holes. Neck of maple with a clearance groove for sympathetic strings. Peg-box integral with neck, slightly tilted toward right, surmounted with blindfolded Cupid’s head; back of peg-box carved and gilded; bored for twelve lateral pegs. Hook-bar of ivory. Tail-piece of ebony, with the top cut slantwise. Two sets of strings affixed as follows: 1. Five playing strings are held by ivory buttons inserted in the tail-piece; they pass over a movable bridge, over the nut and are fastened to five lower pegs. 2. Seven sympathetic strings of thin steel wire are fixed by ivory buttons to an inclined cross-bar glued to the belly and pass through a narrow slit in the bridge, under the finger-board through the neck clearance space, over the auxiliary ivory nut below the main nut (which also has a clearance), and are affixed to the upper seven pegs. Inside construction: Two cross-bars glued to the back; small straight corner fillets; bass-bar and sound-post. Dark brown varnish.


Printed label: JOACHIM TIELKE / in Hamburg, An. 16 [handwritten: 70]


Francis W. Galpin (1858-1945), Hatfield Regis, England; 1916, sold by Francis W. Galpin to William Lindsey (1858-1922), Boston, Massachusetts; 1916, gift of William Lindsey, in memory of his daughter, Leslie Lindsey Mason, to the MFA. (Accession Date: October 5, 1916)

Credit Line

Leslie Lindsey Mason Collection