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.

 

 

The construction and numbering of the jacks

 

4' jacks

Upper-manual jacks

Lower-manual jacks

Numbering on the 4' jacks

Numbering on the 4' jacks enlarged

Numbering on the 4' jacks detail

             The construction of each section of the extant jacks and the numbering of the 4' jacks.

 

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The date on the upper-manual jack for d3, originally numbered '58'.

 

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          Since these images were first uploaded to this site, the numbering and the construction of these jacks were compared with those of the jacks made by other French eighteenth-century makers.  The only surviving Blanchet jacks - perhaps the only ones in the world - are those on the 1733 François Étienne Blanchet double-manual harpsichord in the Château de Thoiry in the province of Yvelines near Paris.  The construction of the jacks in the Thoiry instrument is identical to that of the jacks in the Franco-Flemish harpsichord.  The position of the tongue axle, the angle of the bottom of the tongue, the angle of the bottom of the tongue slot, the amount the tongues are recessed below the top of the jacks for both the 8' and 4' jacks, the size of the tongues and tongue slots, etc. are all exactly the same in the jacks of the Thoiry Blanchet and in the Franco-Flemish harpishcord.  This indicates that precisely the same jig was used to make both sets of jacks and that they came from the same workshop.  Also the numbering has clearly been done by the same hand in both instruments except, inexplicably, for the number '8' which is quite different.  The keyboards of the 1652 Couchet double-manual harpsichord (converted from a single-manual harpsichord) in the Musée de la musique are reputed to be by Blanchet.  Indeed the hand of the numbering of the keys is the same as that of the jacks and keys of Thoiry Blanchet and the jacks of the Franco-Flemish harpsichord, AND the '8' on the 1652 Couchet keyboards is made in the same way as the '8' on the Franco-Flemish harpsichord.  This therefore simultaneously proves both that the ravalement of the Franco-Flemish harpsichord was, indeed, carried out by Blanchet and that Blanchet made the keyboards of the 1652 Couchet in the Musée de la musique in Paris.

      I would like to express my thanks to Alain Anselm, Le Comte de La Panouse and to Jean-Claude Battault for their help and co-operation in my examination of the instruments in their care.

 

 

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