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Martin Harp (Paris, late 18th century)

About the Martin Harp (Paris, late 18th century)

This lovely harp was constructed in Paris, probably in the late eighteenth century, by a builder named Martin who may also have made violins; a partially illegible inscription appears in a blue banner at the apex of the soundboard. The instrument has 39 strings and is equipped with a pedal-operated mechanism that can raise the pitch of each string one half step my means of rods and levers concealed in the fluted front pillar and gracefully curved neck. Each of the seven pedals controls a different note of the scale. The harp is lacquered and decorated with chinoiserie including three pairs of figures on the soundboard: from the top, an archer and falconer, two musicians, and a fisherwoman and netter. Floral wreaths surround groups of small soundholes, and the gilded scroll capital has carved floral ornaments.

Martin Harp (Paris, late 18th century)