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 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.

 

 

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

The jacks have been photographed for comparison with those of other makers active around 1750, and in particular those of François Étienne Blanchet.

Click on each of the images to download a full-sized image at a scale of 1:1.

 

 

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 eightten-century makers.  The only surviving Blanchet jacks - in the world - are those on the 1733 Blanchet double-manual harpsichord in the Château de Thoiry in the province of Yvelines in France.  The construction of the jacks in the Thoiry instrument is identical to that of the jacks in the Franco-Flemish harpsichord.  Even the position of the tongue axle is the same.  This indicates that precisely the same jig was used to make both sets of jacks.  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 '8' on the 1652 Couchet keyboards is made in the same way as the '8' on the Franco-Flemish harpsichord.  This therefore proves both that the ravalement of the Franco-Flemish harpsichord was carried out by Blanchet and that Blanchet did, indeed, make 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 Conte 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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