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Lute attributed to the Tieffenbrucker family, Padua, ca. 1600

NMM 10214.  Lute attributed to the Tieffenbrucker family, Padua, ca. 1600. Bass side view of lute made in Padua, ca. 1600. Treble side view of lute made in Padua, ca. 1600. Back view of lute made in Padua, ca. 1600.

NMM 10214. Lute attributed to the Tieffenbrucker family, Padua, ca. 1600, modified by Thomas Edlinger, Prague, 1724. Ex coll.: Carl Des Fours Walderode, Hrubý Rohozec Castle, Bohemia (Czech Republic). Purchase funds gift of Margaret Ann Everist, Sioux City, Iowa, 2002.

The most important center for lute making was well established in Füssen and the Lech valley area of Bavaria by the sixteenth century. However, numerous makers from this area eventually emigrated to northern Italy as a result of wars, the large number of workshops already concentrated in Bavaria, and the strict regulations imposed upon them by the lute makers guild. The Tieffenbrucker family, one of the most significant lute-making dynasties in the area, left behind their roots in the little town of Tieffenbruck to establish workshops first in Venice and subsequently in Padua.

The shape of this lute, the number of back ribs, and the material employed in the construction of the body are all distinctive characteristics of the Tieffenbrucker family's work. The instrument was masterfully converted into a thirteen-course Baroque lute by Thomas Edlinger, the great German lutemaker who worked in Prague. The inset rose indicates that Edlinger replaced the belly, but retained the old rose, which would originally have been integral with the belly. The intricate, geometric pattern of the rose, inspired by Arabic design, consists of numerous interlocking rings, with additional decoration added to the nine primary rings, including a face in the center ring.




This lute, along with another repaired by Thomas Edlinger in 1728 (NMM 10213), was stored in the attic of Hrubý Rohozec castle in northern Bohemia during the 19th century (castle photo by Z. Pykalová). Perched high on a hillside overlooking the Jizera River valley on the outskirts of Turnov, now but an hour's drive northeast of Prague, the Hrubý Rohozec castle was founded about 1280, as an early Gothic castle, with a moat on the north and west sides. A Renaissance reconstruction took place at the beginning of the 17th century, when the moat was filled and gardens planted. The castle underwent a third, and final, Empire-style reconstruction in 1822.

Various Bohemian artistocratic families lived there until the Protestant nobles were defeated in 1620 at the battle of White Mountain, early in the Thirty Year's War (1618-1648). The castle was confiscated and became part of the estate of Albrecht of Wallenstein. He sold it in 1628 to his colonel, Nicolas Des Fours, and the house of Des Fours, of French descent (Lorraine), owned the castle until the end of World War II, when it was confiscated by the state.

Hruby Rohozec castle in northern Bohemia

Lutenist in painting, 'Allegory of Man' by Johann Härtl (1656).
Painting, 'Allegory of Man' by Johann Hartl (1656), still hangs in Hrubý Rohozec castle.

The painting, Allegory of Man by Johann Härtl (1656), still hangs in the castle and shows a young man (third from left; see enlarged detail at left) holding a lute with ribs of shaded yew wood.

Carl Des Fours Walderode

Carl Des Fours Walderode and his wife, Johanna Kammerlander, in 1979

On August 17, 1907, Nikolaus Graf Des Fours Walderode wrote from Vienna to Albert Fuchs, a Professor of Music in Dresden whose book, Taxe der Streichinstrumente (Values of Stringed Instruments), had just been published, asking, in German, about two lutes that had been kept in his Bohemian castle, "for a very long time." They had, in fact, been listed in an 18th-century inventory with the label texts that can still be seen inside the instruments today.

After World War II, Carl Des Fours Walderode (shown above holding NMM 10213) brought the lutes to Vienna, along with photos taken in Prague (1946) and validations prepared by Dr. Vogel, Prague, February 1947, and Prof. Voldan, Prague, October 1947. On July 28, 1954, Des Fours loaned them to the Sammlung alter Musikinstrumente at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, where the late Robert Lundberg (d. 2001) took photos of the pair, some of which have been published posthumously in his book, Historical Lute Construction (Tacoma, Washington: Guild of American Luthiers, 2002).

On June 12, 1979, Carl Des Fours Walderode retrieved the instruments from the Vienna museum. Two days later, he transferred legal title to his wife, Johanna Kammerlander. The photo above shows Carl and Johanna with the two lutes shortly before they were placed in a climate-controlled area built to house the famous art collection of the Prince of Liechtenstein, a family friend, in Schloss Vaduz, the castle overlooking Vaduz, the major town in the principality of Liechtenstein. There the lutes remained until their acquisition by the NMM in 2002. Both lutes retain their original, fitted, leather-covered wooden cases with iron hardware. This lute's case is also reinforced with chased studs.


Front of pegbox Back of pegbox

Front and back views of the lute's pegbox, added to the instrument by Thomas Edlinger in 1724. The first of the thirteen courses is strung over a chantrelle rider, while the twelfth and thirteenth courses are directed over a bass rider. The instrument was probably repaired in 1907 by Rudolf Heckel, Dresden (who inserted his label into the companion lute, NMM 10213). Heckel may be responsible for the rather unrefined open fretwork (Art Nouveau style) on the back of the pegbox (similar to that on NMM 10213).



Thomas Edlinger added this bridge when he modified the lute in 1724.

Capping Strip

Capping strip

The capping strip at the bottom of the lute body may have been widened.

For additional information, click here to access a list of publications about this instrument.

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