A Franco-Flemish double-manual harpsichord, originally a 'transposing' harpsichord made in Antwerp in 1617, possibly by Frans van Huffel.  It was given a bass ravalement in Paris in 1750 by François Étienne Blanchet and it was later given a treble ravalement in 1786 by Jacques Barberini and Nicolas Hoffmann.



Franco-Flemish harpsichord jacks photographed in UV light and dated 1750.


The date 1750, written with quill and (iron gall?) ink, on the jacks of 2 of the 3 rows when the compass had only 58 notes, has been photographed here in UV light (365 nm.) in order to make the (iron gall?) ink show up more clearly.  These 58 jacks (here re-numbered '59' in a modern restoration) correspond to the first ravalement compass of F1 to d3 so these jacks would have plucked the strings for the top d3 note.


The numbers '59' on the left-hand jack are in ink in shades of blue and are modern - the lower number is clearly in blue biro (ball point) pen and probably dates to the 1970 'restoration' by Roberto de Regina in Buenos Aires.  The lower guides still exist and these have been extended at both ends:  the bottom extension increased the compass by 6 notes from G1/B1 down to F1.  This extension gave the instrument the compass F1 to d3, and so 1750 is clearly the date of this alteration as indicated here by the dating and numbering on the jacks.  In 1750 these jacks would have been numbered '58' since this is the number of notes in the F1 to d3 compass.  As indicated elsewhere on this site this is also the date of the majority of the case decoration on the inside and outside of the lid and of the outside of the case (except for the 1786 treble ravalement extension to the bentside).  The construction details of the jacks and the hand of the person who wrote the numbers on the jacks and comparison of these with the same features on other instruments indicates clearly that this 1750 ravalement was carried out by François Étienne Blanchet


Return to the section on the eighteenth-century history of the Franco-Flemish harpsichord


Return to the section on the description of the Franco-Flemish harpsichord