1840 Antonio de Lorca

Málaga, Spain

Antonio de Lorca García (c. 1798–1870) of Málaga was the patriarch of one of the most influential families of guitar makers in nineteenth-century Spain. He employed at least four journeymen during his career and apprenticed his only son, Antonio de Lorca Pino, who later achieved success as a luthier and distinguished player. His grandson, Antonio de Lorca Ramirez, carried on the family tradition into the twentieth century, crafting larger-bodied guitars more typical of the era. The Lorca dynasty came to an end with Antonio III’s death in 1929.

Date 1840
Location Málaga, Spain
Length of Guitar 948mm
String Length 644mm
Upper Bout Width 219mm
Waist Width 175mm
Lower Bout Width 281mm
Side Depth at Waist 110mm
Soundboard: Spruce | Back: Brazilian rosewood & cherrywood | Sides: Brazilian rosewood & cherrywood | Details: Fitted with an ebony finger rest on the soundboard.

Lorca Garcia’s father was a carpenter, who may have also built guitars, evidenced by a few of Antonio’s labels stating that the Lorca workshop was founded in 1803 when Antonio would have been just five years old. Antonio became a master guitar maker in 1828, and his success culminated in 1848 when he was awarded a silver medal by the Sociedad Económica de Amigos del País for the presentation of “a guitar with excellent voices.”

As the Lorca’s reputation grew, their workshop became a destination for such guitar luminaries as Antonio de Torres and Julián Arcas. Here is where aspiring luthiers such as the Galans (who went on to fame in Argentina) apprenticed and honed their craft. We can only imagine the caliber of the players who passed through their studio, but it is known that Lorca Pino studied with the renowned virtuoso Juan Parga, who in 1893 dedicated his Opus 10 Capricho Sobre las Murcianas to Lorca. Many of Parga’s music publications picture a Lorca Pino guitar on the cover.

The 1840 Antonio de Lorca guitar in the Austin-Marie Collection is arguably the best surviving example of his work; from its hand-colored label, to the striking contrast of rosewood and cherrywood for the back and sides, to its magnificently detailed rosette – it is a masterpiece. Inside, we find a vivid light blue lining tape used to secure the joints of the three-piece back and sides. The thin ebony inlaid finger-rest on the top was probably not a golpeadore for tapping, but like a golpeadore, was added to protect the guitar.

This accommodated the nineteenth-century technique of resting the little finger on the soundboard to support the hand. Lorca’s bridges, at times relatively heavy and unsubtle, nevertheless incorporate an important innovation: a separate bone saddle – a design that became widely adopted and is still used in today’s modern instruments.