The Bunworth harp

Bunworth harp

The Bunworth harp is decorated all over with painting, the painted fields outlined with incised carving. The decoration is mostly large bold plant stems, which have sprouting from them roses, thistles and lilies, perhaps representing England, Scotland and France. The colours now are hard to discern, as the harp is black all over, but it has been suggested that the original colour scheme may have been green and red.

The soundholes on the front of the soundbox are not functional, i.e. they are not cut through the wood, but are just painted on.

The top of the pillar is ornamented by a head, and the top of the neck has a distinctive arched buttress and points. These features can be compared with another harp by John Kelly, now lost but illustrated by Walker in 1786, in Irish Bards. (reproduced below right)


Simon Chadwick