Escape to Coruña

The Cádiz School

The Cádiz school of guitar makers which included Pagés, Benedid, Pérez, and Sanguino – all originating from the region of Andalucia in southern Spain – was well known for its guitar production in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. To the north, luthiers in Madrid were producing guitars too, but with a uniquely different body shape and decoration.

The Peninsular War

The Peninsular War was ravaging Spain in 1812 as the British army, helped by Spanish military units and militia, fought to expel Napoleon’s army. Furnieles had earlier left Madrid for the relative safety of Coruña on the northwestern Spanish coastline, where he likely crafted the guitar in this collection. However, as the poem “The Burial of Sir John Moore after Corunna” by Charles Wolfe reminds us, Coruña itself was a battlefield in 1809. Unfortunately, because this guitar is the only surviving guitar fully attributable to Furnieles, it is not known whether he returned to Madrid after the War or if he even survived. The guitar’s history can only be traced back to wartime London, perhaps a souvenir of a returning British officer.