Eight-course Renaissance lute by Vendelio Venere, Padua, 1584.

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 back is made from 15 ribs of "shaded" yew wood. The later front, made in 1972, is made from spruce - its rose is based on the original rose design. The neck and pegbox, with19 pegs, are made from stained maple. The fingerboard, and a small heart inset into the table below the bridge, are made from ebony.

A repair label suggests that the instrument was repaired in 1761.
Date made
Eight-course Renaissance lute by Vendelio Venere. The neck, head and soundboard are by Martin Bowers.

'Details of a lute restoration made by (label) ...' In Padoua Vvendelio Venere de Leonardo Tiefembrucker 1584' ... for Robert Spencer August 1977. Ex. collection of Sebastian Isepp, Christies (lot No. 6), February 2, 1956, bought in.

Description of the instrument when Robert Spencer brought it to my workshop;

Nine courses 1 x 1 on a chanterelle rider, 8 x 2 with a scale length of 673mm. body length 490mm, width 325mm.

The back is made from 13 ribs of 'shaded' yew wood (heart and sap wood), the sound board and bridge are not original (1972) but it was thought to be the original rose. The neck, peg box and pegs are also from a later date. There is a repair label with a date of 1761, and further work was done in 1972.

Robert Spencer brought this instrument to me for conversion back to an eight course lute ( thought to be the original set up for this instrument) 1 x 1 and 8 x 2 with a scale length of 648mm. The back required partial restoration and a new soundboard was made with a pierced and carved rose (as the original) also a new bridge, the existing neck was remodelled to take a new peg box fingerboard and pegs.'

The original table is preserved with the instrument.
woodwork, lute, lutenist
yew, spruce, ebony, maple
Object type
Type Length Width Height Diameter Unit (length)
length 790 mm
width 326 mm
Height 250 mm
Scale length 647 mm
Object No
Spencer, Robert HonRAM, guitarist and lutenist


Follow us on Twitter@RoyalAcadMusic@RoyalAcadMusic #museum
@RoyalAcadMusic • Jun 13
#ThrowbackThursday to our #museum children's event last month, 'Sir Henry Wood and the Art of Conducting', where pa… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
@RoyalAcadMusic • May 26
Looking for fun family events this half term? Come and visit our #museum for two fantastic children's events this… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
@RoyalAcadMusic • May 20
This #DementiaActionWeek our #museum will be hosting a specialist guided tour suitable for those living with dement… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

Have an enquiry about the Museum and Collections?

Museum Enquiry-Painting