Pons fils (probably a son of César Pons)
Mahogany and spruce
H. 34 1/4 in. (87 cm), Max. W. 14 3/8 in. (36.5 cm), String L. 25 1/4 in. (64 cm)
Marks: (printed label within ornamental border) "Pons, fils/luthier,/Rue du Grand Hurleur/No. 5/A Paris, an 13."; (stamped on front of pegboard and on soundboard just below fingerboard) "Pons fils/ à Paris"
Purchase, Clara Mertens Bequest, in memory of André Mertens, 1998 (1998.121)
The lyre-guitar is an instrument that dates to at least the first century A.D., but was revived and popularly manufactured in France around 1785 during the Neoclassical period. Renaissance paintings by Lorenzo Costa and Raffaellino Garbo show lyre-guitars held upright (possibly interpretations of incised strings in classical bas-reliefs), as they were properly held by the player. Essentially, the lyre-guitar was a modified version of the lyre of antiquity, but with a fingerboard and six strings. English lyre-guitars were sold from 1811 as the six-string "Apollo" lyre of Edward Light and the twelve-string "Imperyal Lyre" of Angelo Benedetto Ventura.