Ledbury Lute

Rare Regency-period lute discovered and restored by our stringed-instrument specialist

Chris Egerton, our stringed-instrument specialist has discovered and restored an extremely rare Regency lute(c.1800) from a provincial museum collection. In 2015 while working on the conservation of some Regency-period instruments namely Harp-lutes, Harp-guitar and Apollo-Lyre guitars Chris spotted an unusual type of lute in photographs taken in small museum in Ledbury, Herefordshire.

Chris arranged to view and examine the instrument and take measurements and photos for further research. After consultation with colleagues the lute was positively identified as a very rare, possibly unique Regency instrument referred to as a ‘Modern Lute’ in music manuscripts and documents dating from c.1800. There are only three other similar known museum examples, but the Ledbury Lute is the most intact and exact specimen.

Chris undertook the restoration and conservation of the lute with permission of the museum trustees and after one year arranged its return. A special celebration, talk, and presentation were held in Ledbury, as well as a musical demonstration of the lute by Taro Takeuchi, an internationally known early-music performer. Two local soprano singers joined the performance. The remarkable sounding instrument filled the local Burgage Hall with 18th century period music and song much to the delight of all.

Since the lute’s restoration several academic papers have been delivered at conference and a special live performance of the lute has been recorded on CD to raise funds for the museum and to promote interest in its collection.


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