Franco-Flemish double-manual harpsichord,
The painting of
the outside of the lid of
the Franco-Flemish harpsichord after cleaning, but before restoration
after cleaning, but before restoration
The outside of the lid has been decorated by two different collaborating artists, one of whom did the figure paintings and the other painted the ornamental decorations around these. The figure paintings on the outside of the lid have been attributed to François Boucher, Paris, 1750. These show Venus and her attributes on the top of the lid flap on the left, and Flora, Cupid and Juno and the figure of carnal love on the right.
The roccoco decorations surrounding the figures have been attributed to Christophe Huet, Paris, 1750.
Venus and Cupid with their attributes. Venus herself represents the embodiment of love and sexuality. The Cupid is the God of desire, often portrayed as here as the son of Venus. The bow and quiver full of arrows represent Venus and Cupid's power in the victory of love. The scallop shell chariot rolls on golden wheel and Venus rests on a soft pillow with a tassel. Two loving doves, a stock-in-trade of François Boucher, also representing pure love, coo sweetly below her.
The face painted on this figure is almost certainly that of Mme de Pompadour (see a further explanation elsewhere on this site).
A detail of the painting on
the outside of
the main lid showing Flora, Juno, a putto, and a reclining nude
after cleaning, but before restoration.
Even the two doves at the far left are delicately and lovingly painted.
after cleaning, but before restoration. Even the two doves at the far left are delicately and lovingly painted.
These paintings, of an exceptionally high quality, have been attributed to François Boucher, Paris, 1750. For a discussion of the added figure of Marie-Louise O'Murphy on the right above, 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 19 December 2021.