G R A N T    O 'B R I E N


Harpsichords, Virginals, Spinets and Clavichords

Restorations and Consultations


Click on this image for further information.


A stunning Franco-Flemish antique harpsichord harpsichord is for sale (photo above)


This harpsichord was originally made in Antwerp in 1617 by a maker who was not a member of the Ruckers family.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, c. 1775 and in 1786.  It is now a classic French double-manual harpsichord with a full 5-octave compass of F1 to f3, 2 x 8', 1 x 4', with 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 paintings attributed to François Boucher and Christophe Huet.

The stand is carved and gilt in a French Roccoco style.  It is original to the 1750 ravalement and was widened, along with the rest of the instrument, in 1786.

The sound is full, rich and evenly-balanced across the whole compass.

Click here for more information

RUCKERS.  A harpsichord and

virginal building tradition (click here)

by Grant O'Brien.

Re-published as a digital reprint  by Cambridge University Press, 2008.

Buy a signed copy with a personal dedication (click here).

Flemish papers for sale (click here)

Full-scale harpsichord, virginal and stand drawings for harpsichords and virginals are available for sale (click here)

Harpsichord-making woods for sale


A small amount of the important woods normally used by harpsichord makers is available for sale.  This is all 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), genuine African ebony (Diospyros crassiflora) and 20,000-year-old bog oak. 

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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Web design by Grant O'Brien, Edinburgh, 2017                 Web pages last up-dated:  Monday June 12, 2017

©Grant O'Brien, Edinburgh, 2017