27 • Four Early Romantic Guitars

The first half of the 19th century was the golden age of the guitar. Pioneered by innovative luthiers such as René Lacote (see no. 26) and dynamic composers such as Mauro Giuliani (1781–1829), hordes of new enthusiasts took up the guitar, particularly within the musical centres of Paris and Vienna. These instruments were exceptionally elegant: smaller, curvier, lighter and easier to play.

Mirecourt, France, 19th century
93 cm long
Maple, spruce
Made by Nicolas Henry (died 1887), a member of a large family of luthiers from Mirecourt, an important European centre of musical instruments.

France, mid-19th century
95 cm long
Maple, spruce, ivory
Branded in iron: J. Perrin à Mirecourt

We know little about this maker, who was probably the son of Etienne Perrin and born in Mirecourt around 1785.

Germany, 19th century
94 cm long
Mahogany, rosewood, spruce
Typical of 19th-century ‘romantic period’ German, and strangely enough also typical of American ‘parlor’ guitars from the period, many of which were made by luthiers trained in Germany and Austria.

France, 19th century
87 cm long
Rosewood, spruce, mother-of-pearl
Jerome Thibouville Lamy (1833–1902) became one of the most important instrument makers in Europe during the mid-nineteenth century. This guitar, unsigned but typical of this workshop, is a slightly smaller model, known as a ‘ladies guitar’ and decorated with flowers.