Take it away, Deborah!
Much of the research I do for my novels never sees the light of day. I first posted about Spanish guitars on my blog whilst I was writing A DIVIDED INHERITANCE, but it seemed a shame to let the research lie there without giving it another outing.
Up until the 17th century there were no real guitars - the only instruments similar to a guitar were the lute and, in Spain, where the novel is set, the vilhuela.
In the early 17th century the Guitarra Morrisco became popular in Spain in the Moorish areas where what we know now as flamenco guitar and dance began. This type of guitar spread to other European countries where it became known as the Baroque Guitar or sometimes simply the Spanish Guitar. A good example of this sort of Baroque guitar can be seen in Vermeer's painting "The Guitar Player."
|Vermeer's "The Guitar Player"|
They are crafted from of wood, or for the more detailed ones, parchment, cut in ornamental layers to give a three dimensional effect.
The designs of these ‘roses’ are similar to those of "rose" windows such as in the great cathedrals, but in miniature.
As it is, in the book my Spanish guitarist is a "bit-player" in my cast of characters - nevertheless, I think the look and feel of the guitar is important to the book, and I listened to a lot of flamenco guitar whilst writing.
Pictures and more information from http://www.vihuelademano.com/rosesinvihuelas.htm
About the Author
Deborah Swift used to work in the theatre and at the BBC as a set and costume designer, before studying for an MA in Creative Writing in 2007. She lives in a beautiful area of Lancashire near the Lake District National Park. She is the author of The Lady’s Slipper and is a member of the Historical Writers Association, the Historical Novel Society, and the Romantic Novelists Association.
For more information, please visit Deborah’s website. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.