Cinthius Rotundus
Anon guitar

Minor restorations



An interesting project was restoring the beautiful ivory and ebony body, and making a top neck in a suitable style, of what seemed to have been a small archlute, or liuto attiorbato as these little Venetian instruments are generally known.

This was for J&A Beare, the London violin dealers and restorers, and the brief was to make the instrument, one in their workshop collection, ‘whole’, although not to playing standard. They only had the body and a soundboard which may well have been from another lute, perhaps a small chitarrone or archlute. The label in the back was of Giorgio Sellas ‘alla stella’ in Venice, 1626, and it seemed most likely that the instrument had been a liuto attiorbato.


The Sellas workshops made a number of these ornate instruments, and they can be found in several instrument collections, generally in a complete state It might once have had the long top neck of a true archlute, but it was finally decided that it should be taken to the state of the smaller instrument, as this seemed most likely.

This meant making at least two thirds of the lute again, in a style as close as possible to that of this Venetian type. Luckily, in my files of measured instruments  I had several examples of this kind.

After a great deal of work on the back, and learning a lot about the restoration of ivory in the process, and repairs and addition of some bars and a new bridge to the soundboard, the new parts seemed relatively easy, and the pictures above show the final result. They were carefully toned in to nearly match the old, and a judicious amount of playing wear, chips and scratches in appropriate places, was applied to the new parts above the block. Thus this kind of work can be seen, to an extent, as ‘cosmetic’ albeit in a scholarly way. Had the instrument been in a museum, it would have certainly been left as a stabilised and opened back.

Cinthius Rotundus | Anon guitar | Sellas | Rauwolf | Langenwalder | Railich | Minor restorations


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