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.

 

 

The painting of the outside of the lid of the Franco-Flemish harpsichord after cleaning, but before restoration

 

 

 

The outside of the lid has been decorated by two different artists, one painting the figures and the other painting 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 and Juno with a reclining nude on the main lid 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, also representing pure love, coo sweetly below her. 

 

 

 

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.

These paintings, of an exceptionally high quality, have been attributed to François Boucher, Paris, 1750.

For more details of the lid paintings at an early stage of cleaning and restoration click here.

 

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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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