Details of the History and

Restoration of a

Stunning Franco-Flemish

Double-manual Harpsichord


Antwerp, 1617 - Paris, 1750 - 1786



Click on the images and links below and at the bottom of this page to see

 more images and detailed information about this splendid instrument.


This stunningly beautiful Franco-Flemish double-manual harpsichord was originally a transposing harpsichord made in Antwerp in 1617 by an unknown maker.  Then, much later, it was ravalé in Paris in several stages during the period from about 1735 - 1786. 

The instrument has an amazing history ranging across much of Western Europe, the United States and South America.  It was decorated in gold vernis martin in 1750, probably replacing an earlier vernis-martin decoration.  It was given a first ravalement by François Étienne Blanchet and was given a decoration in 1750 which has been attributed to François Boucher and Christophe Huet.  It seems to have played an important role in the social and musical life of the French Court at the time of Louis XV. 

It seems highly likely that was given its extravagant decoration because of its amazing sound:  it is, indeed, still today one of the most important and one of the finest-sounding instruments in the history of French harpsichord making.  But its history does not stop there and it also turns out to be a very important document in the history of the modern revival of interest in the harpsichord and its music.  It is associated with Louis Tomasini and the concerts given by Louis Diémer during the 1889 Exposition Universelle.  .  Its modern history involves some very important figures who influenced major world events - not necessarily involving music nor furniture decoration!

Click on the images and links below for more information.

The harpsichord viewed from the bentside

The harpsichord viewed from

 the spine

The harpsichord stand

The spine side of the instrument

The painting on the inside of the lid

The painting on the outside of the lid

Reclining nude by François Boucher

A detail of the case painting

Some of the outer case after cleaning

The putti on the bentside and lockboard

The keywell

A plan view of the instrument

The gilt hardware

The genuine HR rosette

A detail of a foot of the stand


The Tomasini decorations

A possible ownership by the royal French court.

Some important personalities in the French court around 1750.



This Harpsichord is Now For Sale


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



This page was last revised on 03 May 2017.

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