The Downhill harp

Downhill harp The Downhill harp at Guinness

The harp does not appear to have been painted, though scientific analysis of the surface could decide this. It has quite chunky carved moulding all along its components, with the soundbox surfaces framed by edge mouldings. The pillar has a very subtle and elegant reversed triangle which, when viewed from the front, beautifully balances the triangle of the soundbox. The neck is dominated by the carved mane of the animal whose head is on the top of the pillar. A second mane stretches down the back of the pillar.

The brass cheek bands on the neck terminate in brass flowers. The brass string shoes are triangles. The soundholes have hexafoil fretted decoration.

The pillar has a distinct ‘crook’, perhaps caused by the crook of the limb used for its construction (it was usual for the forepillar of a Gaelic harp to be cut from a curved limb, the curve of the pillar fllowing the wood grain). The lower termination of the pillar is shaped like a shoe, so that the whole pillar looks like a leg with a knee and foot.