Franco-Flemish double-manual harpsichord, originally a 'transposing' harpsichord made in Antwerp in 1617 by an unknown maker.  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.

 

 

The painting of the inside of the lid of the Franco-Flemish harpsichord after cleaning and restoration

 

          The author of this painting has yet to be determined.  But, like the painting of the figures on the top of the lid, it is of extremely high quality and compares with the best Parisian landscape artists active around 1750.  It shows a sylvan landscape with groups of figures engaged in rural activities.  The figures are painted in a vigorous, free style and it seems likely that they hold the key to an eventual attribution of this landscape painting.

           There appears to be an underlying painting below the paint visible here, and this underlying painting seems to be the original decoration of the inside of the lid and probably dates to the original construction of the instrument in 1617.  This original painting would have had the unsightly addition of new wood along the spine (lower edge of this photograph), added by F. E. Blanchet when he widened the instrument and increased the bass compass.  This would have necessitated either an addition to the original painting, or the replacement of the entire original painting with the one seen here.  The outline of a Flemish castle is vaguely apparent just to the left of the large curved tree in the right-hand end of the tail of the painting.  No other features of the original painting have yet been detected, although part of the project of the restoration of the instrument is to try to reveal the underlying painting with an infrared scan of the inside of the lid.

 

For more details of the lid paintings at a nearly stage of cleaning and restoration click here.

 

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

 

 Problems encountered in the ethical restoration of this harpsichord

 

 The attributions of the 1750 state to  François Étienne Blanchet, Christophe Huet and François Boucher

 

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This page was last revised on 09 December 2018.