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.

 

Detail of the case Tail decoration

          The outside of the cheek, bentside and tail are decorated with paintings of putti or cupids engaged in various amorous pursuits which, collectively, might be called The Triumph of Love.  This shows a figure of cupid with his bow and arrow, a crystal ball being held aloft, and a dolphin (incorrectly restored here).

           The painting has been done in oil, and is painted on a ground of thick gold leaf.  This type of decoration was known in the eighteenth-century as ‘vernis martin’ after the Martin brothers who invented and developed this luxurious type of furniture decoration.  The putti are remarkably similar to a number of paintings by Boucher in various museums and galleries throughout Europe and North America.

 

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Click here for details about the putti

 

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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