A Franco-Flemish double-manual harpsichord, originally a transposing harpsichord made in Antwerp in 1617, and then ravalé in Paris, possibly by François Étienne Blanchet in 1750, and then in stages by Jacques Barberini, Paris, c.1775 and then by Nicolas Hoffman, 1786.

 

Detail of the case cheek decoration

 

 

          The outside of the cheek, bentside and tail are decorated with paintings of putti or cupids engaged in various amorous pursuits which, collectively, might be called The Triumph of Love.  Here they can be seen sharpening their arrows in preparation for shooting some hapless victim and sending him or her into swoons of ardent desire.  Other scenes show similar figures engaged, firstly, in target practice and, finally, returning from the hunt with their chosen victim pulled along in a chariot.

           The painting has been done in oil, and is painted on a ground of thick gold leaf.  This type of decoration was known in the eighteenth-century as ‘vernis martin’ after the Martin brothers who invented and developed this luxurious type of furniture decoration.

 

 

the painting of the Bentside putti

 

Click here for details about the putti

  

Important Features of this harpsichord

 

A brief history of the musical and decorative states of the Franco-Flemish harpsichord

 

Details of the original state of the instrument

 

Details of the eighteenth-century states of this harpsichord

  

 Details of the modern history of this harpsichord

 

 A problem encountered in the ethical restoration of this harpsichord

 

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