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 stand of the Franco-Flemish harpsichord after cleaning and restoration

 

 

          This photograph shows the stunning stand underneath the Franco-Flemish harpsichord.  The escutcheons at the summit of the legs are ribbed and framed with elegant foliate decoration.  The cabriole legs have elaborate goat feet (cabriole means 'to leap like a goat').  There are the usual scrollwork, scallops, foliate and flower decorations carved and moulded into the gesso, all of which are typical of the high French roccoco.  The height of the stand is greater than normal and raises the instrument into a slightly higher playing position than is usual. This may have been done to accommodate the luxurious ladies gowns and petticoats so that they could be seated normally while playing the instrument.  Visually the raised position makes the instrument look particularly striking and imposing.

         The stand is very fine and beautifully carved and gilded.  Like the case of the instrument it has been widened on the cheek side to accommodate the compass extension of 1786 so that the curve of the actual bentside of the instrument no longer matches the curve of the stand.  This strongly suggests that the stand, in a high roccoco style, is contemporary with the outer-case decorations and paintings of 1750.

 

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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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