Not only is this stunning citole the only surviving piece of it’s kind from the XIV century, it was also played by Robert Dudley to Elizabeth I.
A citole is the medieval equivalent of a guitar. This example is both a unique survival of its type and an outstanding example of medieval secular art. It was highly prized in its day and highly regarded throughout its history.
Alterations have been made, including attempts to convert it to a violin. Among the changes is the insertion of a silver plate above the peg box, engraved with the arms of Elizabeth I, Queen of England (1558-1603) and her favourite and lover, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. One of the most likely uses for the citole in medieval times would be as accompaniment to love ballads. The amorous associations clearly persisted into the Elizabethan age.