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Details
A CITTERN
Possibly German or Italian, late 16th or early 17th Century, inscribed on the side of the neck 'Franciscus Citared. Urb.'

The back and ribs of one piece, the back elaborately carved with a caryatid within elaborate scrolling foliage terminating in two lion's heads with two rampant lions surmounted by a coat-of-arms, the purfled front set with an elaborate Gothic rose and terminating in a comb and decorated with an indistinct coat-of-arms, the ribs tapering from neck to base and ending in carved scroll work at the foot of the neck, the fingerboard set with eighteen brass frets, six of fractional width, and terminating in a gilt cartouche on the table, the neck offset to the treble side, the head slightly domed with forward facing pegs, the finial of an open bifurcated scroll with a suspending hook on the back of the pegbox
37 in. (96 cm.) long overall; the string 24.1/8 in. (61.3 cm.) long
Provenance
Rothschild inv. no. AR971.
Literature
1903 Theresianumgasse Inventory, p. 93, no. 221.
1905 Theresianumgasse Inventory, p. 130, no. 628.
1934 Theresianumgasse Inventory, p. 96, no. 687.

Lot Essay

Of the inscription on the neck, Citared is an abreviation of Citardus which appears to denote either a cittern player or a cittern maker in sixteenth-century Italy. Of the Franciscus nothing further appears to be recorded and the Urb. is an abbreviation of Urbino.

For a comparative example, see A. Baines, ed., Victoria and Albert Museum Catalogue of Musical Instruments, 2nd edn., London, 1978, II, pp. 44-5, fig. 64, illustrated.
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