1834 Pierre René Lacote

1834 Pierre René Lacote

Paris, France

Pierre René Lacôte was arguably the greatest maker of guitars in the first half of the nineteenth century. He inspired a generation of luthiers and his Paris workshop produced some of the finest instruments played by the leading virtuosos of the day, including Fernando Sor, Ferdinando Carulli, Matteo Carcassi, and Dionisio Aguado.

Date 1834
Location Paris, France
Length of Guitar 920mm
String Length 630mm
Upper Bout Width 228mm
Waist Width 165mm
Lower Bout Width 297mm
Side Depth at Waist 87mm
Soundboard: Spruce | Back: Satinwood | Sides: Satinwood | Details: Lavishly ornamented with ebony and mother-of-pearl; fitted with an “Aguado” bridge

Maker Biography

Performance Video

The 1834 Lacote in the Austin-Marie Collection is perhaps the finest example of his work to survive. The border of the face is inlaid in a stunning zigzag pattern of alternating ebony and mother of pearl, that continues up each side of the neck and is repeated around the sound hole. The back and sides are of prized satinwood, tastefully bounded with alternating strips of ivory and whalebone. The color of the head, neck, back, and sides are made to match. The guitar is fitted with the so-called “Aguado” bridge featured on the title page of Dionisio Aguado’s 1843 guitar publication, Apéndice al Nuevo Método Para Guitarra. The tuners are not the famous Lacote enclosed machines that are associated with his more expensive models; instead, Lacote chose flamboyant lock-down pegs secured by a wingnut – an homage to his likely mentor, Antoine Pons. The head of the instrument carries the brand Lacote à Paris highlighted in gold (an important feature that reassures authenticity). The guitar still retains its original coffin case with “French” green felt lining. The overall condition of the instrument is practically flawless.

In addition to the paper label that reads, “Rue Grammont No. 7, LACOTE Luthier, A Paris, Année 182[34], and the Lacote à Paris branding to the head, there is an engraved metal plaque to the back of the head that reads: “A. FOUNTAINE Jr. Narford Norfolk March 1st 1834.” Clearly, this ornate presentation guitar was made for a special client. “A. FOUNTAINE Jr.” was the son of the nineteenth-century violin collector Andrew Fountaine of Narford Hall, who was the grandnephew of the famous eighteenth-century art collector and Warden of the Royal Mint, Sir Andrew Fountaine (1676–1753).

Andrew Fountaine’s string collection included six Stradivarius violins, one of which is still known to this day as Le Fountaine. It’s not surprising that one of the world’s wealthiest string instrument collectors would seek out the world’s most famous guitar maker and order his finest model.

The collectability of a guitar is most often determined by the maker, the model, its condition, and its history. This guitar ranks highest in every category, making it one of the most desirable of all early nineteenth-century guitars.