I recently received a digital copy of this beautiful, newly-discovered photograph of harp guitar legend, Italo Meschi. It was given to Riccardo Sarti by Italo’s nephew, while he was in Lucca this past July. Riccardo (my co-author in the amazing bi-lingual presentation on Meschi’s life and instruments) says that “More material on Meschi is surfacing, including music sheets.” Riccardo later sent me a CD containing 2 PDFs he put together – one on Italo’s life, and one on his poems and other writings. These, he had to translate into English for the first time. He illustrated both collections with many images, including much new memorabilia, photos he’s taken in Lucca, and also numerous paintings by Italo’s cousin, Alfredo, done in Italo’s time. Riccardo adds, “There is even talk of setting up a small Italo Meschi museum in Lucca.”
We certainly hope so – and if so, that is where the surviving R. Mattei harp guitar will end up. It is in the possession of Italo’s first cousin, Innocenzo Meschi (age 80) of Lucca. An amazing treasure, as next year it will be 100 years old. Yes, it is the first of Italo’s 3 harp guitars (he also owned a Guadagnini guitar, according to his last will), built in 1911 by an otherwise unknown luthier from the town of Spezia, Italy, and by all appearances, in remarkable condition. According to legend, it was conceived and commissioned by Italo at age 23!
The new photo of a young Italo is a prize because he is holding this very instrument, the first image to include it. We now have photos of Italo with all 3 harp guitars, from first to last.
And thanks to Riccardo’s efforts, we now have available a trove of new material and biographical information on his famous relative.
I’ve updated Italo’s feature to include the new material (we still need to update the Italian version). Enjoy!