This remarkable survival ranks amongst the finest medieval woodcarving in existence..


It was our pleasure to participate in the major symposium on this instrument, organised by the British Museum. The citole is an extraordinarily rare survivor of fourteenth-century English instrument making, and has long been acknowledged as the finest surviving example of medieval decorative wood carving. Our interest has always been in the later adaptations to the instrument when it was turned into a violin, with the date of 1578 forming part of an associated goldsmith’s mark. Our report found significant similarities with the craftsmanship of the three Bassano violins that we have discovered previously, and identifies importance of the fingerboard and tailpiece as consistent with English viol making practice of the period, and amongst the earliest violin fittings to survive from any country.