Istituto per la Ricerca Organologica e il Restauro
Notes about the first address
of Luigi Embergher in Rome.
News about Embergher’s workshop in Rome
Translated by: Emmanuele Torchio and Maurice Cohen
The first period of Luigi Embergher’s activity in Rome, after coming from Arpino, as well as the year this activity began and the list of addresses he changed, are often treated in a contradictory way by different sources, even recently, and until today there is no serious and documented filing work to support a reliable reconstruction.
The source most commonly referred to (and surely the most reliable) are the labels inside many of the instruments preserved today. The difficulty is mainly in the lack of information exchange between researchers and collectors that attend this artist and, on the other hand, the relative lack of exhibits that can be attributed to the beginning of Embergher’s activity (both in Arpino and in Rome), so that there are still many doubts about his relocations.
To face this need, we are preparing a page on the IROR website to give public opportunity to reveal this kind of data, as well as the serial numbers (often written by hand on the label) and also other details (like the eventual note of a signature on the neck block) in order to create the core of a database that offers the opportunity of exchanging knowledge between researchers and collectors, and so allow a better interpretation of these informations.
Beside other research I am conducting on the roman mandolin, I found that a very important item is the reading of the time’s yearbooks, a real hoard of information, and not only about the addresses of lutherie workshops.
Edited by Tito
Monaci since 1871, following similar indexes edited in Europe and in
Although some lack due to the difficulty in finding complete collections in the libraries and in the most accessible archives, the resulting analysis is quite interesting and contains also some important information probably never edited before.
The first record of the name of Luigi Embergher as builder of musical instruments is in the 1893 Guida Monaci which shows an unknown address of the Embergher workshop: Piazza Monte d'Oro, 29. The deadline for the publication on the index was the beginning of last December. Then the year in which Embergher had a shop in that address must be 1892, consequently all dates referred to later in this essay must be anticipated by one year.
It is interesting to notice
that since the beginning Embergher paid for an advertising (called “annunci
speciali”: “special announcement”) that he kept until 1901. This shows
Embergher’s commercial initiative: although just arrived in
Between 1902 and 1928, Embergher did not buy any advertising, limiting his presence only to his name and address in the “Musical Instruments” list.
There is a new ad in 1928 where he may call himself “Cavaliere” (he was nominated in the meanwhile) that goes on until 1933. Although in that time Embergher had a contraction of his business, so much that he had to reduce the workers and the working days, it is meaningful that he decided to invest again in advertising.
The presence of Embergher on the Guida Monaci ends in 1937, substantially when he gave his activity to Domenico Cerrone.
I think that even the advertisings, when existing, are quite interesting since they show significant moments of Embergher’s activity. From his success in the international exhibitions to the claim of his inventions and his patents, typical of the time’s luthiers, at least among the mandolin builders, like a kind of almost compulsory participation to the modernity of the Italian “second industrial revolution”, so much that many craftsmen patented the strangest inventions just to have the right to write it on their labels (even if they were totally irrelevant with the matter) and often they boasted unfiled patents and inexisting inventions.
Only once, in 1897, advertising reports, apart from the address of the factory in via Tomacelli, also the address of a warehouse in via dei Condotti, 36.
Following, a list of the
years I consulted and the reported addresses, then the pictures of the
advertisements. For some years, I also consulted other indexes (especially the
“Annuario d’Italia – Calendario Generale del Regno” and the “Annuario
Italiano”), giving the indication, where relevant. Last but not least, I wish
to point out that the “Annuario Italiano”, 1932-1933 includes a note about the workshop
of “Embergher A. & Bros.” in Arpino, (at the time part of the
© Lorenzo Lippi - IROR
M. Lizzani: “Guida Monaci: Roma di ieri, di oggi, di domani” da: “Strenna dei Romanisti”, 1952
R. Vannes: “Dictionnaire Universel des Luthiers”, 1975
R. Janssens: “Geschiedenis van de Mandoline”, 1982
P. Sparks: “The Classical Mandolin”, 1995
A. Timmerman: articoli sul sito “www. Embergher.com”, 2004
M. Chiappini: fascicolo di presentazione del Museo della Liuteria di ArpinoR. Leenen - B. Pratt: “The Embergher Mandolin”, 2004