A 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 sometime between 1742 and 1750.  Then it received a major alteration when it was lavishly decorated and given a bass ravalement in 1750 by François Étienne Blanchet, in Paris.  Later is was given a treble ravalement in 1786 by Jacques Barberini and Nicolas Hoffmann, also in Paris.



A plan view of the harpsichord after the cleaning of the soundboard, but before stringing


          Like most of the inside and outside of the case, the soundboard had been coated in a thick coat of insoluble linseed-oil varnish before the current restoration.  This varnish had to be removed from the soundboard mechanically using a sharp scalpel.  The painting of the flower groups and the wreath around the soundboard rosette are in the style of Mabel Dolmetsch and have been attributed to her.

          The wrestplank with both nuts had been replaced in the 'restoration' of the instrument by Roberto de Regina in Buenos Aires in 1971.  This photograph shows the new wrestplank, nuts and the new leather-topped registers of the present restoration.  Particular care was taken during the present restoration both with the lateral spacing of the register slots and the nut-pin spacings.  Careful attention was also given to position the nuts so that the scalings of the instrument were based on simple numbers of the French pouce and gave normal string lengths typical of eighteenth-century harpsichord by Blanchet. 

          Click here for a large plan view of the soundboard only.


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.