‘This way will I disrobe the images’: Images of viols
There are two ways that images may help in the quest to understand early English viols. First, where viols are its principal subject or a detail, an image may indicate what such instruments look like. The viols depicted, whether reporting an historical event, or as a symbol or metaphor, could show particular individual instruments, so they could be as informative as portraits of people. Instruments may also give specific information about the place and/or date of the image and thereby help to contextualize any viols illustrated. Some viols are conventionalized images of a concept or type of instrument, but accurate figurative images can provide information about the form, appearance and use of early English viols that are uncompromised by degradation or alteration, unlike the instruments described in Chapter 3.