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ram’s-head harps

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  • #72994
    jessica-wolff
    Participant

    Just to clarify–the term appears to be used both for the single-action Erard I have, and other contemporaneous harps, where the capitol (?) is surrounded by several ram’s heads; and for scroll-headed harps that have the general shape of a ram’s head but do not necessarily depict one. Is that right? If so, I wish people would just say scroll-headed, which is less confusing.

    #72995
    barbara-brundage
    Participant

    >nd for scroll-headed harps that have the general shape of a ram’s head but do not necessarily depict one

    No. A ram’s head harp has a decoration of rams’ heads on it. A harp with a scroll is not at all the same thing (at least not in general parlance–there are a couple of folks here who seem to use the term that way, but nobody in the rest of the harp/antique world would understand the term to include scrolltops).

    #72996
    deb-l
    Participant

    hi Jessica, sounds like I have been using the term inaccurately, thanks for pointing that out.

    #72997
    jessica-wolff
    Participant

    Thanks, both!

    #72998

    Stylized acanthus leaf wreaths and scrolls were used on not only harps but also fine furniture for centuries.

    #72999
    jessica-wolff
    Participant

    Apparently Pratt Harps also uses the term to include scroll-tops. Perhaps they started this usage.

    #73000
    karen
    Participant

    I think you got it right. The term “ram’s head” is used in wood working and means when something has a rounded shape to it—-like the curled horns of a big horn sheep/ram. The Pratt Chamber Harp does have a “ram’s head” and yes, the capital plates are on either side of it. John Pratt does use the term “ram’s head” to describe the shape but uses the ” ” when he does.

    Scrolled head would not really be accurate for his harps because it does not “scroll” and the wood is not carved as if it were a scroll.

    Hope this helps.

    #73001
    jessica-wolff
    Participant

    Yes, it does.

    #73002
    deb-l
    Participant

    so does that mean the Pratt Dauphine is a scroll top because of the applied carvings of leaves and flowers?

    #73003
    barbara-brundage
    Participant

    The Dauphine doesn’t have an actual scroll, but it was intended to give the impression of one of the old scroll tops in the way the ornament was applied.

    Ditto with the Bryan Marie Antoinette: it’s not really a scroll, just applied stuff over the usual beak, but both harps are meant to look like scroll top harps.

    Webster’s Madame Cadillac (hate that name) is an actual rams head harp as the harp world in general understands the term.

    If you can find a copy of Gildas Jaffrenou’s book “Folk Harps” (older, out of print a long time now, I think) he has a good discussion of volutes (scrolls) and how to create them.

    #73004
    barbara-brundage
    Participant

    Sorry, I meant the Webster 18th Century, obviously, not the Madame Cadillac.

    #73005
    deb-l
    Participant
    #73006
    barbara-brundage
    Participant

    No, that is a scroll top. The 18th Century is a rams head harp:

    They’re small, but they’re there.

    #73007
    barbara-brundage
    Participant

    Here’s a classic ramshead harp from Howard Bryan (click capital photo for larger image:

    http://www.hbryan.com/available/dodd.html

    #73008
    deb-l
    Participant

    I thought the rams heads were shaped french style like the scroll tops, thanks for explaining, very confusing.

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