By Sarah Deere-Jones
Many people around the world today believe the harp to be an exclusively ‘Celtic’ instument and are unaware of its considerable presence in England since the 10th century. Sarah traces the history of one of the world’s most ancient and beloved instruments from thousands of years BC to its arrival in Northern Europe. She will discuss the huge developments and improvements during the Renaissance and 19th century that created the highly mechanised and beautiful instument we see played today.
Using her own restored Regency pedal harp and the music of some forgotten English 19th century harp composers, Sarah explains how the development of the double action pedal mechanism in 1810, led to an explolsion of popularity for the harp. This is further illustrated by the many beautiful paintings there are of Regency ladies and their harps, revealing how fashionable and elegant it was considered in England at that time. Sarah’s research has led her to discover the lost Regency instrument, the Harp Lute, invented for harpists to use on the ‘Grand Tour’ but abandoned by 1840.
Sarah performs authentically on two of her restored instruments, using repertoire she has recovered from museums, libraries and private collections.