In the right corner of the room, there’s a beautiful golden harp signed by Barry, from 1800. The craft of lute makers was already well-organised in Spain in the Middle Age, long before the great Italian or Central European luthier schools began to take shape. A harp manufacturer or restorer can create instruments with up to 1,500 pieces. A harp is made by varying the weight, the soundboard and soundbox’s wood, the spacing and tension of the strings, and the strings themselves. It takes a lot of work to put a harp back together; this includes everything from luthier restoration of the structural wooden parts, which need to be cleaned and consolidated, to recovery of the mechanical parts, which need to be disassembled, cleaned, lubricated, and reassembled, to recovery of the carvings or reliefs made of tablet, a material similar to plaster that was widely used in the nineteenth century.
Javier Martinez Gonzales is a Spanish luthier, specialised in the production of hand vihuela, bow vihuela, lutes, harps, psalteries, mediaeval guitars, and baroque and Spanish guitars.