George Harrison's sitar was damaged in an "unfortunate accident" at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the Press Association has reported.

George Harrison listens as Ravi Shanker play sitar while on holiday in the California in the mid-sixties 

Olivia Harrison, widow of the late Beatle, loaned the complex instrument to the famous institution.

A spokeswoman for the museum said that the sitar was repaired following the incident.

"In 2016, during preparation for a temporary exhibition an unfortunate accident occurred causing partial damage to a sitar on loan from Olivia Harrison," the V&A said.

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"The care and protection of objects entrusted to us is of the utmost importance and we take these matters extremely seriously.

"Following conservation assessment, one of the sitar's gourds was fully repaired in consultation with leading experts, and no permanent damage was sustained.

"The sitar featured in the exhibition which opened in September 2016, alongside a number of other significant objects generously on loan from Mrs Harrison."

Harrison grew fascinated with the sitar, a long-necked string instrument that uses a bulbous gourd for its resonating chamber, and asked Ravi Shankar to teach him to play it properly.

The instrument was adopted by the Beatles in several of their songs, including Within You Without You from the landmark 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

The sitar formed part of the V&A's You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-70 exhibition, which also featured the original suit worn by Harrison on the cover of the Sgt Pepper album.

Harrison died of cancer in 2001, at the age of 58.