Six-course English guitar by John Preston, London, 1780.

Object type
Presented by Mrs Jill Spencer, The National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF), The Britten-Pears Foundation and individual subscribers to an Appeal by the Royal Academy of Music, 1998
Spencer Collection
The two-piece front is made of conifer wood with a star-pattern rose in the soundhole. The slightly convex back and the vertical ribs are made of deeply flamed maple. The neck and attached pegbox, which ends in a square finial, are made from plain maple. Two scribe lines replace the purfling usually decorating the front and back of the instrument. The floating bridge and the fingerboard are made of ebony. The pegs are made from rosewood. The nut, the lower saddle, the bridge saddle, the peg pins and the pins holding the six courses of strings at the bottom rib are made of bone, possibly ivory.

A 12- point star is inserted into the soundhole as part of the rose and an 8-point star made of alternating dark wood and ivory embellishes the finial. These geometric inlays found on Preston English guitars and on guitars by other Engish guitar makers from this period suggest a common supply sources.

'London' and 'JR' surmounted by a crown is stamped onto the bottom rear of the pegbox.
Preston, John, maker
Date made
woodwork, lute, lutenist
carved (woodwork)
maple, ebony, rosewood, bone, ivory
Object type
Type Length Width Height Diameter Unit (length)
total length 733 mm
total width 292 mm
total height mm
string length 421 mm
rose diameter 76.5 mm
Object No
Spencer, Robert HonRAM, guitarist and lutenist


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