The “Queen Mary” Harp

a harp associated with Mary Queen of Scots

Queen Mary Clarsach, a Gaelic Harp

Image of the Queen Mary Harp hosted on the National Museum of Scotland webpage. Please visit the NMS site to learn more.

Feature Detail
Date Probably late 14th or early 15th century. SocAntScot on radiocarbon dating
String Count Originally 29, later increased to 30
Height 82 cm (32½ inches)
Soundbox Hollowed out from a single block, maximum width 30 cm (12 inches) willow
Current Location National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh.

This harp was said to have been presented to Beatrix Gardyne by Mary Queen of Scots, but there is no evidence that Mary ever owned this harp.

For Robert Bruce Armstrong’s account of this harp, see The Irish and Highland Harps pages 168 through 183. These pages contain numerous photographs and drawings, as well as detailed descriptions, measurements and observations on this harp.

For further information relating to this harp please see the articles linked below:

Beautiful coloured photographs of this harp can be found by following the links below to the National Museum of Scotland’s website. Simply select the thumb–nail image to be taken to the Museum’s own enlarged photograph.

string rib

Detail of string rib

harmonic curve

View of the arm (harmonic curve)

string pins

Close photograph of the pins

arm and pillar

Join of the arm and pillar

the pillar

Image of the pillar

side view

Side view of the harp