G R A N T O 'B R I E N
EARLY KEYBOARD INSTRUMENTS
Harpsichords, Virginals, Spinets and Clavichords
Restorations and Consultations
Click on this image for further information.
The stunning Franco-Flemish antique harpsichord harpsichord pictured above is for sale.
This harpsichord was originally made in Antwerp in 1617 by a maker who was not a member of the Ruckers family. It was then mis a ravalement in stages in Paris c. 1735, in 1750 by François Étienne Blanched, 1775 and in 1786 by Jacques Barberini and Nicolas Hoffmann. It is now a classic French double-manual harpsichord with a full 5-octave compass of F1 to f3, and a disposition with 2 x 8', 1 x 4' and an extra peau de buffle set of jacks making up a full four registers.
It has a stunningly-beautiful decoration with an outer case decorated in gold vernis martin and case and lid figure paintings attributed to François Boucher and ornaments around these by Christophe Huet.
The stand is carved and gilt in a French Rococo style. It is original to the 1750 ravalement and was widened, along with the rest of the instrument, in 1786.
The sound is pure, full, rich and evenly-balanced across the whole compass and creates an impression of immense power and opulence.
by Grant O'Brien.
Re-published as a digital reprint by Cambridge University Press, 2008.
Harpsichord-making woods for sale
A small amount of the important woods normally used by harpsichord makers is available for sale. This is all very well-seasoned and of the highest quality available.
The types of wood include accurately-quartered Italian spruce soundboard wood. This soundboard wood is sold only in flitches of about 6 to 15 planks. Each flitch is a succession of slices from the same tree, and these can be used (as most Flemish and French makers did) to make a soundboard that is perfectly uniform in colour and texture because it is all of exactly the same wood for the whole soundboard.
Also available is knot-free Italian cypress from Tuscany (cipresso netto) and genuine African ebony (Diospyros crassiflora).
All of this wood was bought as air-dried, and is now more than 30 years old.
For further details of quantities and prices please see the woods section of this site.
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©Grant O'Brien, Edinburgh, 2017