Lute. Workshop of Michielle Harton, ca. 1598, Padua. Art Inv. 1002
Built in Padua in 1598, this instrument is a lute from the workshop of Michielle Harton—as one can read, in good light, on the interior of the lute, and as indicated by the initials on the face of the instrument. A beautiful example of both workmanship and design, its construction incorporates 35 ribs of shaded yew in alternating brown heartwood and white sapwood. The poplar neck and beechwood pegbox are veneered with ebony and ivory. Inside, vellum strips reinforce the joints.
The lute is one of several instruments in the Folger collection purchased in late 1930 from Arnold Dolmetsch, a leading figure in the revival of early music performance at the beginning of the 20th century. Originally, the lute had nine courses—the term course refers either to paired strings that are played together or to a single string. During its restoration, however, Dolmetsch gave the instrument the 10 courses called for in the repertoire of the late Elizabethan period and subsequent eras.