Guitars in the John Harris Collection
  1. Story of Collection
  2. The Collection

Louis Panormo 1837

Louis Panormo

1837, London

Top: Spruce

Back & Sides: Rosewood

The French-born Louis Panormo (1784-1862), and his brothers, were 19th century England’s finest guitar makers and among the only luthiers outside Spain making guitars “in the Spanish style,” as the labels in Louis’ guitars note. It is said that his guitars were closer to the modern Torres style guitar than any other maker of his day, but luthier and scholar Richard Brune has described Panormo’s guitars as closer in inspiration to the pre-Torres makers of Cadiz and Málaga. Louis Panormo was one of Fernando Sor’s recommended luthiers, but Sor’s visit to Panormo’s Bloomsbury shop during his London stay was to visit Louis’ older brother, Joseph (1767-1837).

Dynastic considerations aside, this particular Louis Panormo guitar has a remarkable history as it was owned and played by the legendary early 19th century English guitarist and composer, Madame Sidney Pratten. The guitar has her red wax “SP” seal applied to the top of the headstock as well as the name “Pratten”embossed in the back of the headstock. The vibrant “Spanish” sound of the guitar is surprising for so small an instrument.

1837 Louis Panormo guitar label


1837 Louis Panormo guitar rosette


1837 Louis Panormo guitar rosette

Madame Sidney Pratten’s wax seal

1837 Louis Panormo guitar front


1837 Louis Panormo guitar side


1837 Louis Panormo guitar back