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Ivory Lute: Picture This

Ivory Lute: Picture This

by Ken Sribnick and Gayle Miller

Originally published in American Lutherie #32, 1992 and Big Red Book of American Lutherie Volume Three, 2004

see also,
6-Course Ivory Lute labeled Magno dieffopruchar a venetia, ca. 1550 in the collection of J. & A. Beare Ltd. by Ken Sribnick and Gayle Miller
Ivory Lute: Questions Remain by Robert Lundberg

These photographs prove that any luthier — right or left handed — can contribute to our Guild and its journal. Though early music is a favorite at our house, neither of us has ever met a lute we fell in love with. It’s all played on guitar. Robert Lundberg didn’t know us when he asked for some shots of what may be the only surviving 6-course Renaissance lute in original condition. We were to be in London the following month. So it was that we found ourselves using the hallway pay phone in our little tourist hotel to call Mr. Charles Beare of John & Arthur Beare Violins. He owns the lute. You’ve read his name in the New York/Los Angeles/London Times when there’s an auction at Sotheby’s/Christie’s of a Strad/Amati/Not Electric violin for over $1/2/3 million. Write ahead? Hey, we don’t even sharpen the chisels before we start!

Her job is to answer the phone. She tells people not to bring in granddad’s fiddle even if it does say Stradivari. She filters for the real calls. For some reason we told it all to her instead of asking for Mr. Beare’s secretary. “I’ll ring you back,” she said. She didn’t sound committed. Our hotel didn’t even have a switchboard, just that hall phone. We paid too much airfare to bet on her call so we went out for the day. Returning that night, we found a little note by the phone. We were amazed to discover that Mr. Beare would be happy to have us photograph his lute and could we plan to spend some time to chat as well?

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