Contributor: Francesca Benatti
Location: Royal Irish Academy, Dawson Street, Dublin, Ireland
Description: Thomas Moore’s harp is held in Dublin in the Library of the Royal Irish Academy, which also houses Moore’s personal library. It was donated to Moore in 1823 by Dublin harp maker John Egan to further publicise his recent line of Portable Irish Harps, for which he had obtained royal patronage by King George IV in 1821. Moore’s Portable Irish Harp features in the anonymous portrait of Thomas Moore in his Study at Sloperton (National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin), next to his cabinet piano. We know that, despite Egan’s success at expanding the sale of Irish harps in Ireland and Britain, Moore himself preferred the piano as an instrument.
During the eighteenth century, the Irish harp had become powerfully charged with nationalist symbolism through the publications of the Volunteers and the United Irishmen, who chose it as the emblem of their revolutionary movement. Continue reading “Thomas Moore’s Harp”