This Guitar is made like a Panormo. Documented literature reports that the luthier A. Guiot worked directly for Louis Panormo and made Guitars under Panormo label before becoming an independent craftman; anyway, it must be said A. Guiot may not have been the only member of his family that moved to England, as long as Panormo guitars signed by J. Guiot were found. Guiots must be counted among the numerous luthiers that left Mirecourt (or Paris) between 1830 and 1850 to work in London, like Chanot or brothers Roudhloff. The terrible situation of that period in France is to be taken into consideration: Napoleonic Wars, the ‘Trois Glorieuses’ revolution in 1830, the 1832 cholera epidemic, the 1848 Civil War. After this series of dramatic events, a lot of craftsmen decided to leave the country. Many of them moved to Turin, London, Germany or even Spain, where guitar makers like Louis Panormo employed them; unfortunately, they couldn’t sign with their own name the instruments they created, as it was custom to write just the master’s. In fact, it often happens to find the name of the real creator inside the instrument, whose touch is also inferable to style characteristics.
The guitar here presented certainly followed this building logic and was presumably build around 1840. We find A. Guiot signature and the sign ‘n° 126X’ on the inner heel, as in other instruments from the same maker. The still-existing label quotes the name of the workshop owner:
“N. 157/ Manufactured by/HOLLOWAY 5, Hanway Str.t Oxford Str. LONDON”
The instrument was clearly made like a Panormo on the outside: the body shape and size, the woods, the head and the machine heads. As Guiots were French, they perhaps chose to decorate their instruments more than Panormo himself. This is evident in all Guiot guitars examined until now. Having taken this in consideration, we would like to suggest that it bears a more beautiful appearance than the original Panormo’s: the threads and the rosette are of ebony and mother-of-pearl, built with exquisite mastery, one part of the rosette recalls some French guitars of the period, like the one by Pons Brothers; the top is, of course, of spruce, with ornamental patterns along its perimeter, similar to the rosette; back and sides are of a very dark solid Brazilian rosewood, with no laminates; the still straight neck is of mahogany, as the headstock (which is usually made of maple for the regular Panormo). The body is deep, as in the Panormo style, the string length is 630 mm. The only exception is in the inside bracing which is not composed by the Spanish fan that Panormo used to insert at the beginning of his career, but instead by typical nineteenth century transverse bracing.
All these characteristics provide for modern Classical guitar sound, even if sweeter and sharper as in the English tradition of those years; the bass goes in depth and the action is low, making it easier to play.
The tuning is easier without pegs, very accurate and regular. The machine heads of ivory are perfectly working and also decorated, even if not as much as Panormo’s Bakers, bearing a distinctive British crown engraving.
The guitar’s condition is overall very good, even if there were three small cracks, on the top and on the back, which have perfectly been repaired by a professional luthier: the fretboard was levelled and new German silver frets took the place of the old one and it was covered with new shellac polish, retaining its original varnish.
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"fait par Brugère, élève de Marcard, Mirecourt, Vosges*"
"built by Brugère, apprentice of Macard, Mirecourt, Vosges"the instrument is undoubtedly very similar to the one we keep in our shop. This Guitar was made for the British market of the time, hence the "Panormo" shaped head. Scale lenght 630 mm. *(2007, La guitare - Paris 1650-1950, ed. Il Salabue, pp. 46-47)