citole dragon head

The British Museum Citole: New Perspectives
Stevenson Theatre, British Museum
4-5 November, 2010

   Organizers and Sponsors

James Robinson is Curator of Medieval Collections in the Department of Prehistory and Europe at the British Museum.  He is the author of Masterpieces of the Middle Ages, and recently oversaw the design and opening of the new Medieval Gallery at the British Museum.

Naomi Speakman is the John Rassweiler Project Curator at the British Museum, assisting James Robinson, and the primary contact for citole symposium inquiries.  Her email is NSpeakman @

Kate Buehler-McWilliams
became acquainted with the British Museum citole while doing graduate work at the University of Minnesota under guidance of Donna Cardemone Jackson.  Initially interested in the citole as a gift between Robert Dudley and Queen Elizabeth, her research expanded into the history of the artifact itself.  Her Master's thesis, "Retelling the Story of the English Gittern in the British Museum: An Organological Study, ca. 1300-present," was completed in 2002.  Her studies of the instrument have greatly enriched her work as an instrument builder, and likewise her experiences building reproduction citoles have only increased her respect for this instrument.  In 2007 she published a citole article in the Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society, and she has read citole-related papers at Galpin/AMIS (2003), Leeds (2003), Kalamazoo (2004 and 2009), Basel (2005), and RSA (2009). Kate can be contacted regarding the citole symposium, particularly the fringe events, at kate @

Alice Margerum is currently finishing her PhD, “Situating The Citole, circa 1200-1400”, at London Metropolitan University. Her thesis examines the documentary, literary, iconographical and material evidence related to this instrument type. The thesis will be completed by August 2010. This research follows on from her 2002-4 MA project to reconstruct a typical fourteenth-century English citole using historically appropriate tools and techniques, in the process of which she discovered a wealth of sources relating to the citole from various parts of Europe. Originally trained as an instrument maker, she holds a BTEC National Diploma, BTEC Higher National Diploma and BSC (Hons.) in Musical Instrument Technology and also trained with the historical harpmaker Tim Hobrough. She worked as a self-employed harpmaker and decorative woodcarver during the 1990s before returning to university. She intends to resume full-time instrument-making upon completion of her PhD. If you have any questions about citoles in European art or literature, please feel free to email Alice at <>.

Benjamin Hebbert has a B.Sc. in musical instrument making from London Guildhall University, and a Masters of Music in historical musicology from the University of Leeds. He is presently at St Cross College, University of Oxford where he is completing his doctorate on the subject Patronage to Commercialism: Instrument Makers and the Material Consumption of Music in Early Modern London. As a musical instrument specialist, he has been a Fellow in Art History at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and head of the musical instrument department of Christie’s.  He is now Program Leader for musical instrument making, furniture making and furniture and objects conservation, and lecturer in material culture and history of decorative arts at West Dean College.

We would like to thank our sponsors: Dr. John H. Rassweiler,  The Galpin Society, Gamut Strings, and "Unprofitable Instruments"