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

 

Detail of the case Bentside decoration 1

          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 getting some target practice in preparation for shooting some hapless victim and sending him or her into swoons of ardent desire.  Other scenes show similar figures engaged, firstly, sharpening their arrows, and, finally, returning from the hunt with their chosen victim pulled along in a chariot.

          This detail is of the bentside, extended at the left and disguised with a vertical line of foliage and covering over the physical join in the wood of the bentside.

           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 putti are remarkably similar to a number of paintings by Boucher in various museums and galleries throughout Europe and North America.

 

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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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