Saturday, June 9, 2012

A Tale of a Painted Harp

Muse Playing the Harp -by Antoine Auguste Ernest Herbert found here
Ah harps...what is it about them that sparks the romantic imagination and gets the inspiration flowing?
When  I was younger, I thought them the most magical of instruments and I desperately wanted to play one. I was going through a phase where I was rather obsessed by anything Celtic...well, maybe that hasn't changed really, ha!...and I loved the idea of the roaming storytelling harper, someone who with their music could touch the otherworlds...Anyway, luckily I got my wish. One day my parents surprised me with a visit from a harpmaker named Geoff Welham,  who had brought along with him two beautiful harps for me to choose from.
Here's me with them- the one I chose is the one I'm holding, my little darling who I'll always treasure... I think it might actually the first one he ever made as well, which to me is a nice thought...

Unfortunely I havent played very much in the past few years, art kind of took over and I'm now out of the habit. But it's something that I miss very much, so I know I'll start again, and teach my poor confused fingers how to play again! After all, I can't really keep using a name like 'wayward harper' if I don't actually play the harp now can I? hehe!

So, it's this project below that has lead to my recent re-awakening in my interest in harping -
This is "The Journeywoman Harp". A recent colaboration between myself and Harps Australia.
And hopefully the start of something new as I'd love to continue with commissions of this sort.

In the shop window at Limerence Boutique

design on the back of the sound box

What I find incrediably fascinating is that the harp exists in many different forms in many cultures across the world. And being one of the oldest types of instrument it's not surprising that it's perceived as such a mythical and magical instrument.

Trinity College Harp
The earliest surviving harps from Scotland and Ireland date to about the 15th century, like the famous Trinity College harp above and the Queen Mary Harp of Edinburgh, Scotland, shown below.

Queen Mary Harp

The Witcher Trinity Harp
I adore the colours of this harp!
The Witcher Trinity Harp
The harp itself plus its carving, silver and jewel ornamentation by Jay Witcher, 2000
Pyroengraving and color by Charlotte Hallett, 2000

Pyroengraving and color on carved maple wood harp
with silver and jewel incrusted ornamentation

A reproduction of the decorated Trinity harp,
also known as the Brian Boru harp, which is on display in the library
at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland
in the same room as the Book of Kells

This information from an article about pyrography found here

A burmese harp - I have a tiny model of one of these!

"A Burmese Harper" - amazing photo re-blogged from here

Russian Hand Painted Lacquer Lap Harp/ Zither found here

Egyptian tomb painting

Egyptian harp - New Kingdom, late Dynasty 18, ca. 1390–1295 B.C.
I adore this Elfin harp! from Caswell Harps
Beautiful medieval harp from Alfaric Harps
Wow! image re-blogged from here
Harp (cláirseach) 1734, John Kelly, Irish, active 1726–1736

I adore this image, not sure where it's from but it's been floating around on my computer for years :)