The cittern was a popular wire-strung instrument with metal frets, strummed with a plectrum, and the melody was usually played on the top string. It became fashionable throughout Italy and central Europe following the publication in 1574 of Il primo libro di tabolaturo di citthara by Paolo Virchi, the son of a cittern maker from Brescia. This exquisitely carved instrument is highly important because it is decorated in the most fashionable style of the day and, unlike almost all Italian furniture of this period, it bears a date, 1582. Nothing is known about the maker, Augustinus Citaroedus: ‘Citaroedus’ literally means ‘harper’, so this is probably a generic term.