Fri 7th - Thur 13th | July 2023

Illustrated Talks

"…to ornament their Harps with silver and precious stones": decorative work on early Irish Harps

Karen Loomis

60 mins

Level: All

Monday July 10th

12:00 - 13:00 GMT +1

Support Material

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Event Overview

The title of this talk comes from a sixteenth-century quote by George Buchanan, who was commenting on harpers in the Scottish Highlands: "Their only ambition seems to be, to ornament their Harps with silver and precious stones : the lower ranks, instead of gems, deck theirs with crystal."

In this illustrated talk, we will explore the decorative work on the surviving harps and in iconography, and its historical context and possible significance to the harpers and their audiences. We’ll also look at how the decorative work on these instruments has aged and changed over time, and think about how these instruments may have appeared, originally.


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