The Lute Society: Lute Iconography Database

Lute Iconography Database (LuteIDB)

The Lute Iconography Database (LuteIDB) is an online resource for lute makers, scholars, players and others interested in the iconography of the lute. It contains over 2200 iconographic entries depicting lutes including oil paintings, carvings, frescos and so on, that have survived. These are gathered together as a resource for the community and now available online.

Go to The Lute Iconography Database

History of LuteIDB

The original version of LuteIDB was developed by David Van Edwards with additional submissions from other contributors. This original version was created using FileMaker Pro.

The overwhelming majority of entries in LuteIDB are a result of David’s extensive work over many years to collect and classify the iconography of the lute. His work has created a fascinating resource that will be of use by a wide range of researchers interested in the history of the lute.

In 2018 Luke Emmet moved the database online so that a wider range of viewers and participants could benefit and contribute to its ongoing evolution. This initial draft version was then updated with the full data set in August 2019, and is now live.

The online version uses the YouTrack System developed by JetBrains to provide a user interface and search facility. The site is available at the following URL:


YouTrack is usually used as a software issue tracking system, and as a result of this, the entries in LuteIDB are labelled as “issues”, but this is merely an artefact of using YouTrack. You get used to this very quickly.


LuteIDB is a scholarly resource and we aim to provide attribution and references to the original images where known. Please contact the maintainers listed below if you have any issues relating to copyrighted material held or referenced in LuteIDB - we aim to fix any problems quickly.

New submissions

If you find a new image of a lute that you have established is not already in the database, we would be pleased to add a new entry.

  • First, check the image is not already in the database by searching for its name or current location. Most of the well-known and many of the lesser known images already have their own entries.
  • If it is a new image, you can then send details to David or Luke.

Contact information

  • Images and copyright queries: David Van Edwards
  • Technical queries: Luke Emmet

Using the LuteIDB

LuteIDB is built on top of YouTrack, and there is extensive user documentation on using YouTrack online.

Log in – site access

The LuteIDB can be found at the following URL:

As a normal visitor to the site, usually you will not need to log in. If presented with the Log in Screen, simply press the “Log in as guest” button to access the content.

If you have been provided with a specific account to use to edit the site, you should enter it here. But simply to view the site you can choose the “guest” log in – no log in is needed.

Basic overview of the site

The default view is a listing of the entries in the database.

If you hover over any paperclip attached to an entry you can preview the image. You can also expand the entry in the listing using the drop down arrow to the right of each entry.

Click on any entry and you will see the full details; you can scroll through the images using the arrows either side of the box saying "Showing issue #1 of XXXX found". On each image you can use Ctrl+Left and Ctrl-Right to move backwards and forwards through the results.

To go back, simply click the “Issues” link at the top of each page.


To search, simply type into the search box at the top of each page. The search facilities in YouTrack are very powerful. As you type it will auto-complete from a number of possible matches in the attributes of the entres. You can also search the text of the site.

So for a simple search you just type the text to search for in the box. For example here we search for Cecillia

Attribute search

Youtrack has a powerful search engine built in, so you can build complex queries that specify certain attributes.

The basic syntax is attribute-name: {value}

You can omit the curly braces if the value is a single word.

For full details of the attribute search options, see:

Example queries

Here are some sample queries to whet your appetite. You can use these as a starting point to formulate your own queries:


Listings of entries in Italy showing summary information

Detail page with full attributes