Rare Guitars Once Owned by Harvey Hope to Be Auctioned

Battista Fabricatore guitar from 1796

All you (really) long-time readers of Classical Guitar might recognize the name Harvey Hope from the masthead of every issue of the magazine from September/October 1982 (#1!) though October 2002. Mr. Hope was originally listed as the “Historical Editor” for the magazine; later, “History Editor.” During his two-decade tenure with the magazine he wrote numerous articles on everything from “Paganini and the Guitar” and “The Early Guitar” to reviews of an edition of “Aguado’s New Guitar Method” and works by Mozart, Santiago de Murcia, Robert de Visée, Alonso de Mudarra, and many, many more.

Alas, Mr. Hope passed away in 2014 and the age of 71 (more about his life below), but he left behind a substantial collection of guitars—some dating back to the 17th century— which are set to be auctioned off by Guitar Auctions in the UK on Friday, September 15, beginning at 11 a.m. (London time). Among the 15 instruments going on the block are such incredibly rare and highly prized guitars as a 1796 model from the Naples workshop of Battista Fabricatore, a guitar by Jean Voboam dating back to 1684 Paris, a George Stauffer guitar from Vienna c. 1820, and one by Francisco Sanguino of Sevilla from 1770. So get those checkbooks and credit cards ready! Bids will be taken both in person and online; click here for details.


Above, L to R: details of Hope’s chitarra battente; one of two Jean Voboams; French 10-string, c.1770

And now, some more about Harvey Hope, courtesy of Classical Guitar founder/publisher/editor (through 2014) Maurice Summerfield:

Harvey Hope was a leading British guitarist who devoted much of his life to the research and performance of early guitar music and established an international reputation through his concerts, recordings and broadcasts. He was regarded as a leading authority on the Baroque guitar and was the only guitarist who performed exclusively on original 17th century guitars.


     He began to play the guitar at the age of 14. Two years later he embarked upon a musical career as a professional guitarist. It was not long before he became interested in the music of the Baroque period, and in 1963, he began what was to become a lifetime study of the performing styles and repertoire of the five-course guitar. His research into what was then a neglected musical backwater, led him abroad to the music conservatories of Paris, Rome and Barcelona to study surviving source material at first hand. During this time, he

formed a collection of original l7th and 18th century guitars which was considered to be the finest in the world in private hands. These guitars will auctioned by his estate in September.

     His 1978 recording Baroque Guitar was the first to be devoted to the solo five-course guitar repertoire. It was also the first time that the sound of an original l7th century guitar had been recorded. This was followed in 1979 by his award winning Italian Baroque Guitar. From that point he recorded for a number of labels. His highly acclaimed concerts at Prague Spring Festivals provided him with opportunities to research the music manuscripts in the Prague libraries. The results of this research can be heard on a his CD Czech Guitar Music

c. 1700. A CD devoted to the compositions of French guitarists was recorded on three guitars built by members of the Voboam family in Paris during the l7th century. This CD includes duets that were recorded for the first time on two Voboams. His CD La Guitarre Royalle, devoted to music composed for Louis XIV, was recorded on a guitar built by Joachim Tielke for the French King,

     Harvey Hope performed at leading European Early Music festivals, many of his tours enjoying the support of the British Council. He gave recitals throughout Europe as well as in the U.S. and frequently broadcasted on BBCRadio 3, both as a performer and as a reviewer. He also lectured and gave recitals in most of the universities in Great Britain, in numerous academic establishments abroad, and gave master classes at many guitar festivals. He also provided music for the Royal Ballet and the Royal Shakespeare Company. Harvey Hope contributed articles to a number of music journals, and was the History Editor of Classical Guitar magazine for very many years.

     On a personal note.  I knew Harvey for over 35 years and always found him to be a charming and most interesting personality.  I was surprised when he told me, when we first met, that he was also a busy radio and television session musician playing an electric guitar.  He also enjoyed listening to recordings by the great jazz guitarists.