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 treble 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.



Detail of the case Bentside decoration 3

          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.  Here a monochrome cartouche shows two putti having a quick snog in the darkness. Other scenes show similar figures engaged, sharpening their arrows, getting some target practice and, finally, returning from the hunt with their chosen victim pulled along in a chariot.


Compare this with the image below:

The photograph above shows a mirror reversal of the grey monochrome detail in Boucher’s Autumn Pastoral (No. P482) in the Wallace Collection, London.  These two are clearly inspired by the same author and this is one of the many indications that the figure paintings on the Franco-Flemish harpsichord are by François Boucher.


Details of the Franco-Flemish harpsichord


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 20 November 2021.