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A Comparison of Two Surviving Guittars by Zumpe and New Details Concerning the

Involvement of Square Piano Makers in the Guittar Trade

Source: The Galpin Society Journal, Vol. 64 (March 2011), pp. 49-59, 180-183
Published by: Galpin Society
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A Comparison of Two Surviving Guitta

by Zumpe and New Details Concerning t
Involvement of Square Piano Makers in t
Guittar Trade

the article attempts to investigate the involvement of

regarded as an originator and one of the most other square piano makers, such as Beck, Lucas and

Iohann Christoph Zumpe (1726-90) is commonly

prominent makers of the square piano. However,
although the various aspects of Zumpe's life and
Haxby in the guittar trade during the 1760s.

work as a square piano manufacturer have been well BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION AND

documented in the relevant literature,1 very little has BUSINESS DETAILS

been written so far in connection to his earlier career Johann Christoph Zumpe was born in Fiirth, near
as a guittar2 maker. This article intends to highlight Nuremberg, on 14 June 1726. Zumpe, who served
this relatively unknown period of Zumpe's career by an apprenticeship as a cabinet maker,3 moved to
presenting and comparing the two known surviving London in the early 1750s like a number of other
guittars by this maker. Moreover, several facts and instrument makers of German origin.4 It is reported
figures concerning the transitional stage in Zumpe's that in the late 1750s Zumpe was building keyboard
work around the mid-1760s are reviewed and instruments in the workshop of Burkat Shudi, the
renowned harpsichord manufacturer.5 In December
questioned in the light of new evidence. In addition,

1 See, for example, Michael Cole, The Pianoforte in the Classical Era (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998),
or Margaret Cranmer, 'Zumpe, Johannes', The New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments, edited by Stan
(London: Macmillan, 1984), 3, pp.904-5.
2 The guittar, commonly known as the 'English guittar', is a small plucked instrument which was widely u
British Isles from the middle of the eighteenth to the beginning of the nineteenth centuries. Appearing in
of shapes, and having essentially wire strings and an open major tuning, it was more related to the cittern,
different from the figure-of-eight, gut-strung Spanish guitar, and the adjective 'English' has been used
distinguish the two types. For the purpose of this article it has been considered more appropriate to re
instrument as 'guittar', since this was the most common name used in contemporary sources.
3 The Journal von undfiir Franken for 1792, as quoted in Cole, The Pianoforte in the Classical Era, p. 51, me
Zumpe 'went abroad as a journeyman cabinet-maker about forty years ago and became a musical instrument

4 Zumpe has often been associated with a group of German keyboard instrument makers who emigrated to London
in the 1750s, known as 'the Twelve Apostles', a theory recently refuted by Michael Cole, "The Twelve Apostles? An
Inquiry into the Origins of the English Pianoforte', Early Keyboard Journal 18 (2000), pp. 9-52.
5 Charles Burney wrote that Zumpe was 'a German, who had long worked under Shudi', as quoted in Michael
Latcham, 'Pianos and harpsichords for Their Majesties', Early Music XXXVI/3 (August 2008), p.361.


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50 The Galpin Society Journal
1760 Zumpe married Elizabeth inventor of the Small Piano-Forte
Beeston6 and in and1761
maker to her
he opened his own workshop atand
Majesty 7 the
Princes Street,
Royal Family.'12
Hanover Square, 'at the sign ofFrom
the theGolden
records of the Sun Fire Office13 we
During the first few years atknow that address
this in 1779 Zumpe insured his premises in
must have been occupied inPrincesthe Street,
Cavendish Square, of for £2,300 and
guittars, a fact evidenced by in 1781
twoinsured several houses in Charlotte
surviving instr Row,
uments, dated 1762 and 1764 respectively,
Paddington which
for the same amount, suggesting that
will be described in detail later. Around
he was 1763
a very successful Zumpe
businessman. Interestingly,
became a close acquaintanceintothe J.
1779 C.
Bach8 policywhose
Zumpe is described
as a provided
successful concerts in London musical instrument
the maker, whereas the policy
for many makers, including of 1781 Zumpe,
describes him to as abecome
'gent' living at No. 7
interested in expressive keyboard
Charlotte Row, instruments.9
Paddington.14 Similarly, in his will
Sometime around 1765 Zumpe of 1784, Zumpe is described
developed the as 'John Christopher
piano and soon after he started
Zumpe, producing
Gentleman, of Queen the first
Charlotte Row, by the
New Road,
versions of this instrument; there arein Stpresently
Mary-le-bone.'15 By 1786 Zumpe
surviving square pianos by Zumpe
had moved todated
his last residence
1766. atFor No. 62 Edgware
ten years, from 1768 to 1778,Road Paddington,16
Zumpe continued where he died in December
manufacturing square pianos inBypartnership
1790.17 with
the time of his death Zumpe had become
Gabriel Buntebart.10 By 1779 quitehe
owning set'longup
six houses on the
workshop in Princes Street, northern
near Cavendish Square,
edge of the city, near Oxford Road, plus
where he worked until 1782, when he handed over further wealth in bonds and chattels.'18 His wife and
his business to the brothers Frederick and Christian other close relatives inherited most of his fortune,
Schoene, who came from Zumpe's hometown and although he also left generous donations to the St
had previously trained as cabinet makers.11 In Marylebone
an Charity for Needy Children, and to the
advertisement from 1780 Zumpe claimed to be 'the
Orphan and Charity School in Fiirth.19

6 Christopher Zumpe married Elizabeth Beeston on 3 December 1760 in the Church of St Martin-in-the-Fields. See
FamilySearch™ International Genealogical Index, accessed 17 August 2010.
7 Cole, The Pianoforte in the Classical Era, p.51.
8 Michael Cole, 'John Zumpe', <>, accessed 17 June 2010.
9 Cole, The Pianoforte in the Classical Era, p.49.
10 Gabriel Gottlieb Buntebart (1726-1794) was a keyboard instrument manufacturer who came from Strelitz, the
hometown of Queen Charlotte, wife of George III. Buntebart, who described himself in his will as 'Grand Pianoforte
Maker to her Majesty', may have been influential for Zumpe's fruitful connection to the palace. See Cole, The Pianoforte
in the Classical Era, p.47.
11 The Schoene brothers very likely paid royalties to Zumpe because the inscription on their pianos reads Schoene &
Company / Successors to Johannes Zumpe etc. Cole, 'John Zumpe', accessed 17 June 2010.
12 General Advertiser, 1 February 1780, as quoted in Phillip James, Early Keyboard Instruments from their Beginnings
to the Year 1820 (London: Peter Davis, 1930), p.80.
13 Lance Whitehead and Jenny Nex, 'Keyboard Instrument Building in London and the Sun Insurance Records,
1775-87', Early Music XXX/1 (February 2002), p. 9, Table 2. The Sun Fire Office was the first organised fire insurance
company in London.
14 Whitehead and Nex, 'Keyboard Instrument Building in London and the Sun Insurance Records, 1775-87',
Appendix 1, p.21 and Document 2 on p.13. This suggests that by 1781 Zumpe may have retired from his actual
instrument-making duties and had adopted a more administrative role in his business.
15 As quoted in Cole, The Pianoforte in the Classical Era, p.67. Like many other German immigrants, Zumpe had
apparently anglicised his name to John Christopher after settling in London.
16 This address is reported in the 1786 endorsement of Zumpe's 1781 insurance policy. Whitehead and Nex, 'Keyboard
Instrument Building in London and the Sun Insurance Records, 1775-87', p.13, Document 2.
17 Zumpe was buried in the Church of St Marylebone on 5 December 1790. Cole, The Pianoforte in the Classical Era,
18 Cole, 'John Zumpe', accessed 17 June 2010.
19 Cole, The Pianoforte in the Classical Era, p.67.

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Poulopoulos — Zumpe 51
TWO SURVIVING GUITTARS BY ZUMPE: contains the earliest reference to this instrument,
LITERATURE REVIEW which is listed as a 'pandora'. Moreover, a brief
description and photograph of this instrument
Two surviving guittars by Zumpe are presently
known. The first guittar (see Figure 1, colour are included
section)in an account of the Glen Collection
in the Historisches Museum Frankfurt, Frankfurt of Musical Instruments by Farmer,26 who uses the
am Main (No.X16650), is signed 'John Zumpe. in term 'mandore' to describe the instrument. A more
Princes Street Hanovers Squere 1762/ and is the recent and detailed technical report by Darryl
earliest known surviving instrument by Zumpe.20 A Martin is included in the current catalogue of the
description of this instrument is included in an early EUCHMI27 where the instrument is catalogued as
catalogue of the collection by Epstein,21 who refers to an 'English guitar'.
the instrument as a 'lautensister' (lute cittern). In his
description Epstein mentions a leather instrumentISSUES OF NOMENCLATURE AND
case stamped with the monogram 'GR' under the TERMINOLOGY
crown, perhaps indicating a royal ownership or Over the last forty years the two guittars have been
endorsement, and also bearing Zumpe's address 'at mentioned briefly in several other publications, the
the Sign of the Golden Guittar'. According to the first instrument usually described or labelled as a
museum archives22 the case was lost or destroyed 'cittern' or 'English guitar', the second as a 'mandora',
during the Second World War, possibly around even though they are quite similar (as will be shown
1944 when several artefacts from the museum were later). For instance, Boalch claims that the 'earliest
moved to other buildings, and its present location issurviving instrument by [Zumpe] is [...] a mandora
unknown. Furthermore, a brief description and twoof 1764 (in Glasgow)' while he also refers briefly to
photographs of this instrument, labelled as 'English the guittar in Frankfurt as a 'lute-shaped cittern'
guitar', are presented by Baines23 who essentially made 'between 1761 and 1780'.28 On the other
hand, Cranmer29 states that 'Although Zumpe is
repeats the details and dimensions given by Epstein
without providing any new information. famous for his square pianos, other instruments
survive including an English guitar (1762) at the
The second guittar (Figure 2, colour section), in
the Edinburgh University Collection of HistoricHistorisches Museum, Frankfurt, and a mandora
Musical Instruments (EUCHMI), Edinburgh (1764) at Glasgow Art Gallery and Museum', while
(No.1731), is signed 'John Zumpe in Princes Street mentions that 'an English guitar and a
Hanovers Square 1764' and is the second earliestmandora by him [Zumpe] bear the dates 1762 and
surviving instrument by Zumpe.24 An exhibition 1764 respectively'.
catalogue by the Edinburgh Society of Musicians25 Furthermore, Cole, who is the only writer to

20 This instrument, donated to the museum's collection of musical instruments by J. G. Knecht, is currently in store
and accessible only under request.
21 Peter Epstein, Katalog der Musikinstrumente im Historischen Museum der Stadt Frankfurt am Main (Frankfurt
am Main: Historisches Museum, 1927), p.15, number 53.
221 am thankful to Oliver Morr at the Historisches Museum Frankfurt for this information.
23 Anthony Baines, European and American Musical Instruments (London: B. T. Batsford, 1966), p.43 and plates 251
and 252.

24 This instrument, on loan by Glasgow Museums (Culture and Sport Glasgow), formerly Glasgow Museums and Art
Galleries (Glen Collection, MUS/NN/8), is currently displayed in St Cecilia's Hall Museum of Instruments, Edinburgh.
25 The Edinburgh Society of Musicians, Opening of the Queen Street Rooms/Saturday November 10th 1894 (Catalogue
of the Second Music Loan Collection Exhibited in Scotland), p.12, item 38. A copy of this catalogue survives in the
Edinburgh Public Library (Edinburgh Room), ref: YML 28 S 67 (B46439).
26 Henry George Farmer, 'The Glen Collection of Musical Instruments', The Scottish Arts Review 1/1(1946), p.5 and
figure 2.
27 Arnold Myers, editor, Historic Musical Instruments in the Edinburgh University Collection, Volume 2 Part B,
Fascicle ii: Lutes, Citterns and Guitars, second edition (Edinburgh: EUCHMI, 2003), pp.21-2.
28 Donald Boalch, Makers of the Harpsichord and Clavichord 1440-1840, second edition, (Oxford: Clarendon Press,
1974), p. 193 and footnote 2. The updated third edition of Boalch, edited by Charles Mould (Oxford: Clarendon Press,
1995), p.214, refers to the 'lute-shaped cittern' in Frankfurt but makes no reference to the 'mandora' in Glasgow.
29 Margaret Cranmer, 'Zumpe, Johannes', The New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments, 3, p.905.
30 Richard Maunder, 'The Earliest English Square Piano?', Galpin Society Journal XLII (1989), p.77.

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52 The Galpin Society Journal LXIV (2011)
Table 1. The
1. The
of the two
the twoin millimetres
guittars in millimetres
Dimensions 1762 JZ 1764 JZ

Overall length (including the tailbutton) 753 762

Front body length 357 370

Back body length 457 476

Maximum width 274 275

Maximum depth 120 119

Scaling (distance from the nut to the twelfth fret multiplied by two) 441 441

Fingerboard length 235 236

Fingerboard width at nut-body join 47-54.5 47-57.5

Neck length from nut to body join 172 173

Neck thickness (including the fingerboard wood) at the nut-7th fret 20-23 21-24

Pegbox length from nut to top 216 217

Pegbox maximum depth 67 80

Angle at nut 5° 6°

Finial dimensions 27.5x27.5 30.5x30.5

Rose diameter 73 78

Distance from the rose bottom to the bottom of the body 154.5 184

date to have referred to Zumpe's guittar-making technical examination and comparison of the two
career, argues that surviving instruments from hisinstruments is presented below.
earliest years include 'a mandora and some citterns,
or 'English Guittars'.31 Additionally, in a moreTHE FRONT

recent article Cole32 mentions that the EdinburghThe soundboards on both guittars are made of two
University Collection owns an 'English "Guittar",pieces of wide grained spruce joined in the middle.33
bearing Zumpe's label' while he also adds that 'aThe inset roses are decorated with a twelve-pointed
similar instrument is known in a German museum,star made of ebony and ivory (Figure 3, colour
and a mandora, dated 1764, is mentioned by Eric section), which on the 1764 JZ is surrounded with
Halfpenny as being in Glasgow'. Cole apparently a geometrical pattern of dark brown wood in a
was unaware of the fact that the English guittar infloral motif. There are four pairs of concentric inked
Edinburgh and the mandora in Glasgow are, in fact, lines around the soundhole of the 1764 JZ but five
the same instrument. pairs on the 1762 JZ. The soundboard of the 1764
These examples illustrate how easily wrong dataJZ has a movable ebony bridge with an ivory saddle,
have been repeated in the past without any further while that of the 1762 JZ has a rather uncommon
inquiry or research. Moreover, they reflect the lack fixed 'mustachio' bridge (Figure 4, colour section).
of a standard terminology to describe a variety ofBoth guittars have a dark amber varnish, while the
historic wire-strung plucked instruments withpurfling on the soundboard of both instruments
similar features, a fact that in some cases has caused consists of a single pair of inked lines.
significant controversy among scholars.
TECHNICAL EXAMINATION AND Both guittars have bowl backs which are made of
COMPARISON OF THE TWO GUITTARS flamed maple ribs separated by thin ebony spacers,
The two guitars (hereafter referred to as 1762 JZ and resembling the design and manufacture
1764 JZ) were examined by the author in December
of a lute. Curiously, the back of the 1762 JZ consists
2009. The overall dimensions and manufactureof 19 ribs while that of 1764 JZ has 21 ribs. Both
characteristics of both guittars are quite similar
guittars have a strip of ebony glued around the
with only minor differences (see Table 1). A detailed
entire back next to the soundboard to provide extra

31 Cole, The Pianoforte in the Classical Era, p.52.

32 Cole, 'The Twelve Apostles?', p.28.
33 Wood identification on both guittars was based only on macroscopic observation of the various parts.

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Poulopoulos — Zumpe 53
support, and an endclaspTable
Table 2.
2. The ofplacements
The fret
fret figured
in in
with an ebony edge. The millimetres
top of the endclasp on the
1764 JZ has a soundboard protector
Fret No. made
1762 JZ of a 1764strip
of ivory; there is no soundboard
on the
1762 JZ. There are ten ivory endpins arranged in
F2 46.5 46.5
two rows of five on the endclasps of both guittars.
In addition, the 1762 JZ has aF3 round tailbutton
of ivory, while that of the 1764 89 Both
JZ is90 missing.
endclasps bear Zumpe's signature
F5 written
109.5 in
109 black

ink on the bottom (Figure 5, F6

colour section).
128.5 127.5

F7 146 145.5
F8 162.5 162
The neck and pegbox on both guittars are carved
F9 178.5 178
from a single piece of beech. Notably, the neck and
fingerboard sides are rounded on their adjacentF10 194 193.5

surfaces forming a grooved rather than an even

Fll 207.5 207

surface where they meet. On both guittars the neck

F12 220.5 220.5
joins the body on the middle of the ninth fret; there is
wire strings, with two single strings for the bass and
no supportive neck heel as on flat-back instruments.
Both guittars have a fingerboard with twelve double strings for the treble courses, which is
frets and a scaling of 441mm; the tapering intypical
widthfor guittars, while the 1762 JZ is (unusually)
of the fingerboard on the 1762 JZ is slightlycurrently
smaller strung with five double courses of gut.
than that on the 1764 JZ. The fingerboard, which
on both guittars is veneered with ebony, is slightly
arched and has a width of 47mm at the nut. The nut

In general
itself is made of ebony on the 1762 JZ and of ivory on the workmanship of both guittars is of a
the 1764 JZ. The fingerboard of the 1762 JZ has standard, although the finishing of the 1762 JZ
capotasto holes on the second, third and fourthisfrets,
less refined than the 1764 JZ. Both instruments
but the original capotasto is missing;34 there are
are very
no light, and apart from a few scratches, cracks
and JZ.
capotasto holes on the fingerboard of the 1764 playing marks, they are preserved in excellent
Additionally, the fingerboard ends of the two condition,
guittars largely as a result of the current non
are carved in different patterns. playing policies and good conservation practices of
both collections. However, after a closer inspection
Both guittars have viol-style pegboxes housing ten
of both
wooden pegs, with five placed on each side (Figure 6, guittars it is evident that the 1764 JZ retains
colour section). The pegheads are decoratedmost withof its original features whereas the 1762 JZ has
small ivory pips, two of which are missingbeen extensively altered.
on the
bass side pegs of the 1764 JZ. The pegbox onThe first and most noticeable sign of alteration
guittars terminates in a square finial veneeredon the 1762 JZ regards the bridge design. As already
mentioned, while the 1764 JZ has a movable bridge
ebony and decorated with an inlaid eight-pointed
of a style commonly found on historic guittars, the
ivory star in the centre (Figure 7, colour section).
Moreover, the backs of both pegboxes bear the fixed 'mustachio' bridge of the 1762 JZ is
museum inscriptions 'MUS/NN/8', written in almost
blackcertainly a replacement. Moreover, the rose
on the 1764 JZ, and 'X16,650', written in whitestar on the 1762 JZ seems to have been removed
on the
and ten
1762 JZ. The stringing of the 1764 JZ comprises reattached to the soundhole with a ring of wood

34 The capotasto, a quite common feature of the guittar, is a movable 'bridge', made of an ebony or ivory
with leather and secured with a wing-nut and a bolt on the fingerboard through holes drilled in the ne
between the first four frets. This device enables a performer to raise the pitch of the instrument by a semitone
thus allowing the easy transposition to other keys and facilitating song accompaniment at a convenient
earliest reference to the use of a capotasto on the guittar is included in Robert Bremner's Instructions for
(Edinburgh: Bremner, 1758) in which Bremner claims that 'Those Guitars that have moving Bridges on the
the Advantage of the others; as by such, the Instrument is enabled to suit the voice with any Pitch of Son
entire content of Bremner's Instructions, arguably one of the most comprehensive and influential guittar
Rob MacKillop, '18th-century Wire-Strung 'Guittar", <>, accessed 23 Septembe

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54 The Galpin Society Journal LXIV (2011)
added around it, possibly in an attempt
aroundto repair
175637 and by the early 1760s its popularity
was expanding
or modify the interior of the instrument.35 rapidly among polite society, being
A less
obvious alteration of the 1762 JZ may
be detected
favoured by upper-class ladies. Although
the origins
on the fingerboard, which has been re-fretted inof the instrument are uncertain, it is
past. The new frets have been placed slightly offthat
noteworthy thethe earliest signed guittars that have
original fret positions resulting in small to date have been constructed in London
between the fret placements of the bytwo guittars
makers of German origin, such as Liessem, Hintz,
Rauche and cutting
(see Table 2). This alteration also involved Hoffmann.38
The nut;
the end of the first fret and removing the interest of these makers in the guittar trade
the present nut of the 1762 JZ is not is confirmed
original. by the large number of surviving
modifications, in combination withguittars
the present
and published guittar music, while their
stringing of gut strings, suggest thatguittar-making
the 1762 JZ activities have been recorded in
was probably converted to a gut-strung archival sources, including tradecards,
with five double courses possibly after theadvertisements,
newspaper wire directory entries and
strung guittar became unfashionablelegal
the early These craftsmen, who moved
nineteenth century.36 to London in the early 1750s, came from various
professional backgrounds and trainings, but soon
THE INVOLVEMENT OF ZUMPE IN THE focused on guittar manufacture possibly as a result
GUITTAR TRADE of the instrument's instant commercial success and
The two surviving guittars are an undeniable
its proof
relatively simple, fast and cheap construction. It
of Zumpe's involvement in the guittar trade
is in the
interesting, for instance, that Hintz, who claimed
early 1760s. The guittar had appeared in London
to be the 'first Inventor'39 of the guittar, had started

35 The adhesive residues around the rose and the rather crude workmanship further confirm that this is the result
of modern restoration.

36 The conversion of wire-strung guittars to gut-strung instruments must have been common in the early nineteenth
century when a series of new gut-strung instruments such as the harp-guitar, harp-lute-guitar, Apollo lyre, harp lute
and dital harp started becoming popular among amateur performers. These instruments shared the same tuning
in open C as the guittar (which was normally tuned c-e-gg-c'c'-e'e'-g'g1), with extra open bass courses to extend
the lower range, thus enabling players accustomed to the guittar to play them using essentially the same fingering
patterns. Apart from the guittar by Zumpe other examples of similarly converted instruments include a flat-back
guittar by Liessem dated 1758 in EUCHMI, Edinburgh (No.1070) and a bowl-back guittar by Rauche dated 1764 in the
National Museums of Scotland, Edinburgh (No.1905.842).
37 The earliest known reference to the guittar comes from an advertisement in the Public Advertiser of 2 November
1756, which reads: A Book of Airs and Songs principally designed for the Viol, other wise Cuter or Guittar, composed
by Mr CALL, teacher of that Instrument.', as quoted in Phillip Coggin 'This Easy and Agreable Instrument: A History
of the English Guittar', Early Music 15/2 (May 1987), p.205. This rather ambiguous description of the instrument
using three different names (viol, cuter and guittar) suggests it had only recently been developed. Further evidence to
the guittar's introduction and gradual establishment among performers in the late 1750s comes from the accounts of
Thomas Green, a music teacher and tuner of musical instruments in Hertfordshire. In his accounts from 1742 to 1790,
regarding mainly the maintenance and tuning of various keyboard instruments, the record of'mending and Stringing
a citron', which is almost certainly an early name for the guittar, appears for the first time on 29 January 1756. Then
for the next two years Green refers to the instrument as a 'citron', 'citern', 'guitar' or 'guittar', while after 1758 he
exclusively uses the terms 'guittar' or 'guitar'. This is another proof that around 1756 the guittar was new and that
within a few years its name had already become widely established among musicians. In his accounts Green mentions
the instrument in total 47 times within thirty years (from 1756 to 1786) referring to it once as a 'citern', seven times as
a 'citron', and 39 times as the 'guittar' or 'guitar'. For more details see Gillian Sheldrick, editor, The Accounts of Thomas
Green, Music Teacher and Tuner of Musical Instruments, 1742-1790 (Hitchin: Hertfordshire Record Society, 1992).
38 The earliest known guittars are two instruments by Remerus Liessem both dated 1756, the first in the Victoria
and Albert Museum, London (No.230-1882), the second having been auctioned by Sotheby's on 9 October 1981 (lot
156), the present whereabouts of which is unknown. In addition, two guittars by Hintz, one in EUCHMI, Edinburgh
(No.1066), the other in John Wesley's Chapel, Bristol, and a guittar co-signed by Rauche and Hoffmann in the Robert
Burns Birthplace Museum, Alloway, Ayrshire (No.3.4565), are dated 1757. Moreover, the earliest dated guittar book is
G. B. Marella's Sixty Six Lessons for the Cetra or Guittar, published in London in 1757, as quoted in Coggin "This Easy
and Agreable Instrument', p.205.
39 See the advertisements published in The Public Advertiser on 13, 17 and 22 March 1766 and on 9 May 1766, as

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Poulopoulos — Zumpe 55
Laurence Sterne
his career as a cabinet maker, just to like
Mrs Elizabeth
Zumpe,Draper: before
becoming an instrument maker while working in the
circles of the Moravian Church.40 It isandalso
I have been with Zump[e]; important
your Piano Forte must
to point out that there are
be tunedsimilar surviving
from the brass middle bowl
string of your Guittar,
back guittars by Hintz, which
Rauche and
is C. I have got Hoffmann,41
you a Hammer too, and a pair of
which predate the two guittars by
Pliers to twist your Wire Zumpe,
with [...]48 showing
that Zumpe was familiar with their instruments and
It seems
was probably influenced by that apart
their from her pianoforte Mrs Draper
Thus, it seems that the increasing
had also purchased a guittar popularity
by Zumpe. This quote,
of the guittar at that time motivated
written shortly Zumpe,
after the appearance of Zumpe'slike
the other names mentioned above, to invest in square piano, shows that the guittar was already a
the manufacture of this new instrument when he familiar instrument among performers and that
opened his own workshop in 1761.43 Zumpe's use of some used it to help tune their new square pianos.49
a 'Golden Guittar' as a shop sign is clear indication While Zumpe's time as a guittar maker 1761-65/6
of his guittar-making activities at that time and has been largely overlooked to date, it probably played
is recorded in Leopold Mozart's travel notebooksan important role in his later career. For example,
during his family's London sojourn 1764-5.44 Cole50 claims that it was while building guittars
Interestingly, according to Maunder45 Mozart did that Zumpe became familiar with the method of
not describe Zumpe as a 'Claviermacher' (keyboardmaking overwound strings for short-scale bass
instrument maker) as he did for Kirkman and courses. Zumpe consequently used this technology
Shudi,46 another indication that Zumpe initiallyin his manufacture of square pianos in order to
concentrated on plucked rather than keyboard overcome the short scaling and compact design of
instruments.47 The involvement of Zumpe in the the instrument. In addition, Zumpe's early square
guittar trade is further captured in the following
pianos were equipped with a hand stop to disengage
excerpt from around 1767, included in a letter fromthe dampers and allow the strings to vibrate freely.

39 (continued) qUOted in Lanie Graf, 'John Frederick Hintz, Eighteenth-Century Moravian Instrument Maker, and the
Use of the Cittern in Moravian Worship', Journal of Moravian History 5 (2008), p.20.
40 Graf, 'John Frederick Hintz', p.ll.
41 Although the majority of extant guittars are flat-back instruments several bowl-back guittars have survived
to date, most being built in London during the late 1750s and early 1760s by makers of German origin. Bowl-back
guittars are also commonly depicted in Georgian portraiture. However, it seems that the bowl-back design was
gradually abandoned, perhaps because it was more difficult and time-consuming to construct compared to flat-back
instruments. The latest known bowl-back guittar is a nine-string instrument by Rauche dated 1779 and now preserved
in the Birmingham Conservatoire, Birmingham (No.11.2).
42 In the 1750s and 1760s a large number of musical instrument makers of various origins were concentrated in
Westminster and the City of London working in close proximity to each other. This enabled the fast dissemination of
ideas and the copying of new styles and designs by makers.
43 Robert Barclay, The Preservation and Use of Historic Musical Instruments: Display Case and Concert Hall (London:
Earthscan, 2005), p.185.
44 Cole, 'The Twelve Apostles?', p.28. In his notebooks Mozart also included the keyboard instrument makers Shudi,
Kirkman and Neubauer, and the guittar maker Hintz.
45 Maunder, "The Earliest English Square Piano?', p.84, footnote 2.
46 Apart from Mozart's travel notebooks another contemporary source that includes the names of many known
musical instrument makers is Mortimer's London Universal Directory from 1763. Curiously, Mortimer does
not mention Zumpe among those instrument makers working in London, although, like Mozart, he includes the
harpsichord makers Kirkman and Shudi, and the guittar maker Hintz, who is listed as 'Guittar-maker to her Majesty
and the Royal Family'. In his directory Mortimer also includes Rauche, arguably one of the most prolific guittars
makers without, however, providing any references to his guittar-making occupation. For more details see Thurston
Dart, editor, 'An Eighteenth-Century Directory of London Musicians' Galpin Society Journal II (1949), pp.30-1.
47 Except for the two guittars presented above, an undated bell harp by Zumpe survives in the Kunitachi College of
Music, Tachikawa-shi, Tokyo (No.1401).
48 Cole, The Pianoforte in the Classical Era, pp.60-1.
49 This does beg the question: how did they tune their guittars?
50 Cole, The Pianoforte in the Classical Era, p.53.

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56 The Galpin Society Journal LXIV (2011)
piano.53 by
The resulting tone quality has been described However,
one the royal monogram stamped on
writer as one 'which has some connection with that the missing guittar case of the 1762 JZ, mentioned
of the metal-strung guitars or citterns which ladiesearlier, verifies Zumpe's association or endorsement
often used to accompany their vocal performances.'51
with the royal court as early as 1762.54
Besides, Cole52 notes that Zumpe's practice of Further evidence regarding Zumpe's business
growth comes from the records of the Sun Fire
advertising his address on his square pianos, being
the first keyboard instrument maker in England toOffice. The details presented by Whitehead and
do so, was possibly linked to his previous occupationNex55 show that in 1763 Zumpe obtained his first
insurance policy, indicating that around this date he
as a guittar maker; in fact, Zumpe's address is written
on both guittars presented above. was already a successful manufacturer who wanted
As mentioned above, the years 1765-66 signify anto secure his profitable and expanding business. It
is, therefore, quite reasonable to assume that Zumpe
important turn in Zumpe's career, as at this point he
had built a good reputation and had a large and
probably started constructing his first square pianos.
It is interesting that the latest surviving guittar byesteemed clientele by 1763 while making guittars.
Zumpe dates from 1764 whereas the earliest dated What made Zumpe eventually abandon the
established guittar trade and take the risk of
surviving square pianos by him are four instruments
dated 1766. What still needs to be answered is at
producing a new instrument in 1765-6? The key
factor in Zumpe's career change was the arrival
what point and under what circumstances Zumpe
switched from the manufacture of guittars tointhe
London of J. C. Bach in 1762 and his following
manufacture of square pianos, a transition which
performances, especially his public concerts with
Carl Friedrich Abel in 1764, which stimulated an
instantly increased both his sales and his subsequent
fame among London's musical circles. interest in expressive keyboards among instrument
Zumpe was undoubtedly a clever businessman makers.56 Zumpe's close acquaintance with Bach,
who apart from being a renowned composer57
with strong entrepreneurial skills, capable enough
to come up with new inventions as well as withwas also an eminent music teacher with many
methods to sell them. It seems that soon after
respectable pupils including Queen Charlotte,58
opening his shop Zumpe started developing
proveda influential for his future business success.
network of important contacts. It is known, for to Zumpe's invention of the square piano,
example, that Zumpe kept a firm relationship with
Cole59 argues that Zumpe probably 'saw the merit of
Queen Charlotte and the royal family through his a small pianoforte that would appeal to
partner Buntebart, a connection that was valuable
ladies', in the same way as the guittar, with which
for the success of Zumpe's new-invented square
he was familiar from his earlier career. Perhaps from

51 Cole, 'John Zumpe', accessed 17 June 2010.

52 Cole, The Pianoforte in the Classical Era, p.61.
53 Cole, The Pianoforte in the Classical Era, p.61-2.
54 Interestingly, in an insurance policy dated 9 January 1768 Zumpe's address is given as 'at the Queen's Arms in
Princes Street' suggesting that he changed shop signs to reflect royal patronage. I am grateful to Lance Whitehead for
providing me with this information.
55 Whitehead and Nex, 'Keyboard Instrument Building in London and the Sun Insurance Records, 1775-87', p.21.
Nevertheless, as Whitehead and Nex note (p.7), it is remarkable that in his policies of 1763 and 1779 Zumpe was
described simply as a musical instrument maker, although other makers had more specific titles.
56 See Latcham, 'Pianos and harpsichords for Their Majesties', p.361.
57 Interestingly, although J. C. Bach is more associated with the early pianoforte repertoire, he was also involved
in the guittar culture composing a Sonata for the Guittar with an accompaniment for a violin (London, 1775) and a
Sonata in two movements (Jean Kirkpatrick Guittar manuscript, Buccleugh Collection, MC.2.9 Northamptonshire
Council). For more details on the two Bach Sonatas see Rob Makillop, "The Guitar, Cittern and Guittar in Scotland-an
historical introduction up to 1800', in Monika Lustig, editor, Michaelsteiner Konferenzbericthe Band 66: Gitarre und
Zister-Bauweise, Spieltechnik und Geschichte bis 1800 (Michaelstein: Stifung Kloster Michaelstein und Verlag Janos
Stekovics, 2004), pp.134, footnote 26, and pp.139-141. In this article MacKillop has pointed out Doc Rossi's comment
that the second Sonata is similar to 'the right-hand keyboard part of J. C. Bach's Sonata opus 5, no. 1, originally in B
flat', which is considered as one of the earliest works written for the pianoforte and was published in 1766, the year that
Zumpe probably introduced his first square pianos.
58 Cole, The Pianoforte in the Classical Era, p.48.
59 Cole, The Pianoforte in the Classical Era, p.52.

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Poulopoulos — Zumpe 57
his experience as guittarneck heel of a Zumpe
maker, flat-back guittar.65
foresaw Unfortunately,
potential of producing an whereabouts of this instrument
small is presently
keyboard instrument that could but attract
the date depicted in the drawing
female customers eager to showBeck's involvement
off their in the guittar
musical trade
as early as
skills in their drawing room 1763. In addition, the earliest surviving
Zumpe probably did not by Beck is a guittars
stop making flat-back guittar signed
'Beck &orders
he started having sufficient Pinto / London
for 1764.'66
his new currently in the
pianos, which at some point,
private as
collection Charles
of Ulrich Burney
Wedemeier, Laatzen.67
reported, 'he could not make
Moreover, ... fast
four extant guittarsenough to
by Beck are dated
gratify the craving of the while Beck'sIt
public.'60 latest
is known
worthguittar is dated
that from 1766 and until 1766.69
the time
the sameof
that retirement in
Zumpe appears to have
the early 1780s Zumpe's making square pianos.
production was After this date and
until the
focused on the manufacture ofearly 1790s Beck
square was clearly focused on
the production of square pianos, a fact confirmed
THE CASES OF BECK, LUCAS AND HAXBY by several extant instruments. In 1794, a few years
Interestingly, Zumpe was not the only maker
before his death, Beck was listed by Doane as
who had a brief involvement in the guittar trade
'Beck, Pia Forte Maker.-No.10 Broad-St. Carnaby
before focusing on the manufacture of square M.'.70 Therefore, although in the early 1760s Beck
pianos. Frederick Beck was another instrument was mainly building guittars, after the advent of
maker of German origin62 who began his career Zumpe's square piano he appears to have abandoned
building guittars before becoming best knownthe as guittar trade in favour of expressive keyboard
a manufacturer of square pianos, largely imitating
those of Zumpe.63 Beck started manufacturing A similar case worth mentioning is that of George
square pianos around 1772,64 working at 4 Broad
Lucas. Lucas was a guittar maker working in Silver
Street, Golden Square, near Carnaby Market, a few
Street, Golden Square, in west London. Interestingly,
minutes walk from Zumpe's workshop. Lucas used the same shop sign of a 'Golden Guittar'
However, the earliest evidence of Beck's as Zumpe, while the characteristics of his guittars
instrument-making activities is a drawing share strong similarities with other makers of
Beck's signature 'Fk Beck / London 1763' German
on the origin, especially Hintz. Apart from three

60 As quoted in Latcham, 'Pianos and harpsichords for Their Majesties', p.361.

61 Whitehead and Nex, 'Keyboard Instrument Building in London and the Sun Insurance Records, 1775-87', p.9,
report 35 surviving square pianos by Zumpe, including seven with Buntebart and two with Meyer.
62 Beck, who was born in Wurttemberg, Germany (baptised on 30 May 1738), moved after 1756 to London, where
he died around 1798. See Margaret Cranmer, 'Beck, Frederick', The New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments, 1,
pp.199-200. An updated version of this entry is included in Grove Music Online, <>,
accessed 24 June 2010.
63 Most extant square pianos by Beck are almost identical to those of Zumpe.
64 The earliest known square piano by Beck is dated 1772 while the latest is dated 1788, with attributions as late as
1798. See Martha Clinkscale, Makers of the Piano 1700-1820 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993), pp.19-20.
65 See Hill Family, Archival material and biographical notes on English violin makers, 2 volumes: WA 1992.643.1 and
WA 1992.643.2, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. The drawing is attached on an unmarked page in the first volume. I am
indebted to Jon Whiteley at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, for allowing me to examine this document.
66 Pinto was possibly one Charles Pinto, a maker and repairer of instruments, who also collaborated with the music
publishers and musical instrument sellers Longman and Broderip. I am thankful to Jenny Nex for bringing this detail
to my attention.
671 am obliged to Ulrich Wedemeier for providing me with details and photographs of this instrument.
68 These include a bowl-back guittar in the Kunitachi College of Music, Tachikawa-shi, Tokyo (No.926); and flat-back
guittars in the Musee de la Musique, Paris (No.E.2081), the Ann Arbor Collection, Michigan (No.1565) and the York
Castle Museum, York (No.DA7697). The construction and decoration features of the bowl-back instrument look very
similar to the two guittars by Zumpe presented above.
69 This guittar was auctioned by Gardiner Houlgate on 3 July 1998, lot 104.
70 Joseph Doane, A Musical Directory for the Year 1794, republished by The Royal College of Music, London, 1993, p.6.

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58 The Galpin Society Journal LXIV (2011)
his brother and
surviving guittars by Lucas71 almost nothing elsebusiness
is partner, Robert, composed
known about his origins, training and Easy Airs for the Guittar made on
later career.
Nevertheless, a surviving square piano
Purposeby Lucas72
for Young beginners which was published in
suggests that he may have followed the
by J. Longman
of& Co. in London,76 while Thomas
Zumpe and Beck, manufacturing square pianospublished
from Thomas Thackray's Six Lessons
his new address at Featherstone Street,
for the Guittar
Finsburyin York around 1770. Besides, two
Square. presently known guittars77 by Haxby are a certain
Apart from Beck and Lucas another name of testimony of his involvement in the guittar trade.
particular interest is Thomas Haxby of York.73
Haxby was one of the most important keyboard CONCLUSIONS

instrument makers working outside London and Recent research on the guittar trade has revealed
probably the first known English instrument maker many previously unnoticed facts that can provide
to manufacture square pianos in the early 1770s.74 a clearer view of the musical instrument-making
Nevertheless, several contemporary documents business in late eighteenth-century Britain. The
illustrate Haxby's association with the guittar oft-quoted story of the harpsichord maker Jacob
especially during the 1760s. The earliest evidence is Kirkman gifting guittars to low-class girls and
a bill dated 18 February 1761 which reports Haxby street musicians in an attempt to save his declining
being paid for new set of guittar strings in Temple keyboard-making business78 may be as amusing as
Newsam House, Leeds, in 1760: 'T. Haxby for tuning inaccurate, showing only one side of the coin. The
the Harpsichord twice in 1760 £2.2.0 Set of Guitar details presented in this article demonstrate that far
strings 2/6'.75 Moreover, Haxby's interest in the from being in rivalry with the guittar, several well
guittar trade is further confirmed by the fact that known instrument makers had joined the lucrative

71 The earliest of the three known guittars by Lucas is a bowl-back instrument dated 1761, privately owned
Ferrara in Lincoln. According to Ferrara, who was kind enough to provide me with details and photograph
guittar, there is a small paper label glued on the inside of the guittar's back bearing the inscription 'George Luc
The other two, in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (Ash.55; Boyden 38; WA1948.133) and in the Museum of Fin
Boston (No.17.1746) are undated flat-back, bell-top instruments similar to guittars by Hintz made in the late 1
72 Sotheby's auction catalogue, 8 November 1978, lot 175, p.134. According to the catalogue description t
has an enamel plaque inscribed 'Lucas, Featherstone Street, Finsbury Square, London'.
73 Haxby (baptised 29 January 1729 and buried 31 October 1796) was a prolific keyboard instrument manu
working 'at the Organ' in Blake Street, York. For more details on Haxby's life and work see David Haxby a
Maiden, 'Thomas Haxby of York (1729-1796): an extraordinary musician and musical instrument maker
Historian 2 (1978), pp.43-55.
74 The earliest known square piano by Haxby is dated 1772 while the latest is dated 1794. According to the est
of Haxby and Maiden between 1772 and 1794 Haxby produced more than 380 square pianos, as well as n
organs, harpsichords and spinets. Haxby and Maiden, 'Thomas Haxby of York (1729-1796)', p.53.
75 Leeds City Archives, Pawson MSS, Box 39, as quoted in Haxby and Maiden, 'Thomas Haxby of York (172
p.48 and footnote 26.
76 The only recorded example is in the Library of Congress, Washington (M1385G7H) as quoted in Ha
Maiden, "Thomas Haxby of York (1729-1796)', pp.44-5 and footnote 14. As Haxby and Maiden point out (p.4
Robert Haxby died in 1788 he was described as a musician rather than an instrument maker, suggesting tha
have been responsible only for the music selling activities and not for the construction of instruments in his

77 Both guittars are undated. The first of the two guittars is included in the Illustrated Catalogue of Mu
Exhibition by the Worshipful Company of Musicians at Fishmongers' Hall, June & July 1904 (London: Novello
1909), p.139, where it is listed as a cittern in the possession of A. F. Hill with the description 'Made for Kin
III. In its original leather case, with the Royal crown and initials G. R. stamped upon it'. This guittar is pos
instrument lot 56 auctioned by Phillips on 14 December 1978. The second guittar is an undated bell-top ins
in a private collection in Germany. This guittar was auctioned by Sotheby's on 27 March 1981, lot 84, and
November 1998, lot 297.1 am thankful to Wolfgang Emmerich for providing me with details and photographs

78 The account, included in Rees's Cyclopaedia (1819), as quoted in Coggin 'This Easy and Agreable Instrument',
p.206, reads: "The common guitar used in England has frequently had its fits of favour in this country; about fifty
years ago its vogue was so great among all ranks of people, as nearly to break all the harpsichord and spinet makers,

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Poulopoulos — Zumpe 59
guittar market during conservator,
the 1760s at the before
Historisches becoming
Museum Frankfurt
established as square-piano
for allowing manufacturers.
the examination of the Zumpe It is
certain that further systematic
in their collection andinvestigation of
for providing useful archival
information, and and
surviving musical instruments Dr Gabriela Betz (Bildarchiv)
archival sources
could bring to light more details
for her permission concerning
to publish photographs of this the
guittar and its significant role He is further indebted
during thisto fascinating
period of music history. Arnold Myers, chairman of EUCHMI, who was kind
enough to provide him with copies of his private
ACNOWLEDGEMENTS collection of auction and exhibition catalogues.
The author would like to thank Dr Darryl Martin,
Finally, the author would like to thank the various
curator of EUCHMI, for his valuable assistance and researchers who were keen to exchange
support in the preparation of this article. He is also background material and knowledge
grateful to Dr Jiirgen Steen, curator, and Oliver Morr, to the completion of this article.

78 (continued) anc[ incjee(j the harpsichord masters themselves. All the ladies disposed of their harpsichords at auctions
for one third of their price, or exchanged them for guitars; till old Kirkman, the harpsichord maker, after almost
ruining himself with buying in his instruments, for better times, purchased likewise some cheap guitars and made
a present of several to girls in milliners' shops, and to ballad singers, in the streets, whom he taught to accompany
themselves, with a few chords and triplets, which soon made the ladies ashamed of their frivolous and vulgar taste,
and return to the harpsichord.'

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180 The Galp in Society Journal LXIV (2011)


Two Surviving Guittars by Zumpe

Figure 1. Front, side and back views of the earliest known guittar by Zumpe dated 1762 (Histo
Museum Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main, No.XJ6650; photos by the author).

Figure 2. Front, side and back views of the latest known guittar by Zumpe dated 1764 (Edinbu
University Collection of Historic Musical Instruments, Edinburgh, No.1731; photos by the aut

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Colour Section

Figure 3. The roses of the 1762 JZ (left) and the 1764 JZ (right); photos by the author.

Figure 4. The bridges of the 1762 JZ (left) and the 1764 JZ (right); photos by the author.

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The Galpin Society Journal LXIV (2011)

Figure 5. Zumpe's signature written in ink on the bottom of the 1762 JZ (top) and the 1764 JZ (bottom);
photos by the author.

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Colour Section

Figure 6. The pegboxes of the 1762 JZ (left) and the 1764 JZ (right); photos by the author.

Figure 7. Thefinial decoration on the 1762 JZ (left) and the 1764 ]Z (right); photos by the author.

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