Images from The Rawlins
Guitar by Domenico Sellas, Venice, ca. 1670
Note: Click on any major structural area of the instrument to see a close-up of that area.
NMM 3346. Guitar by Domenico Sellas, Venice, ca. 1670. Five double courses. Original spruce belly with inlaid mother-of-pearl, ivory, and ebony. Fingerboard inlaid with incised, mother-of-pearl plaques. Back and sides of snakewood with ivory stringing. Ebony back of neck and peghead heavily inlaid with ivory figures and foliage. Overall length: 84.27 cm. Arne B. and Jeanne F. Larson Endowment Fund, 1984.
Note: Click on image above to see a larger image of the rose.
Soundhole surrounded by ring of overlapping semi-circles of inlaid mother-of-pearl outlined in ebony, ivory, and black mastic. Stained-wood rosette a replacement based upon style of the period.
Views of the Peghead
Note: Click on images above to see larger images of the peghead.
Ebony pegs reconstructed in style of period.
Details of Incised Plaques on Peghead
Note: Click on images above to see larger images of the plaques
Domenico Sellas, son of the instrument maker Matteo Sellas (b. Füssen, ca. 1574-1586), was born in Venice about 1632. The date inscribed on the peghead, therefore, is spurious. Current scholarship indicates that the instrument was probably made about 1670. The crown ("Alla Corona") inscribed on the peghead was the shop sign used by these two Venetian luthiers.
"Rare, Beautiful Guitar Evokes the Splendor That Was 17th-Century Venice," Shrine to Music Museum, Inc., Newsletter 12, No. 1 (October 1984), p. 3.
André P. Larson, "Early Italian Plucked Stringed Instruments at the Shrine to Music Museum," Lute Society of America Newsletter 20, No. 1 (February 1985), p. 9.
Margaret Downie Banks, "The Witten-Rawlins Collection and Other Early Italian Stringed Instruments at The Shrine to Music Museum," Journal of the Violin Society of America 8, No. 3 (1987), pp. 23, 25, 26.
André P. Larson, The National Music Museum: A Pictorial Souvenir (Vermillion: National Music Museum, 1988), p. 51 and inside cover.
Joseph R. Johnson, "The Witten-Rawlins Collection of North Italian String Instruments," American Lutherie 15 (1988), reprinted in The Big Red Book of American Lutherie, Vol. 2 (1988-1990), edited by Tim Olsen (Tacoma, Washington: Guild of American Luthiers, 2000-2004), pp. 100-102.
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