Copy of a ‘French’ model Ruckers harpsichord

Made in Edinburgh by Grant O’Brien in 1985


'French' double-manual harpsichord by Grant O'Brien, Edinburgh, 1985


Details about the decoration of this copy

          The decoration of this instrument is based on the surviving features of the traditional decoration of many Ruckers instruments.  The outside of the case and lid are marbled to imitate a red marble seen in many buildings and architectural features in Antwerp (for example the lower rusticated surface of the exterior of the Stadhuis (Town Hall) in Antwerp).   


        The inside surfaces of the case and lid are decorated with hand-printed block papers made from blocks cut and printed by Grant O’Brien.  The inside of the lid uses a block-printed pattern which is meant to imitate green watered silk , although the same pattern was also printed in an ink the colour of brown ochre to simulate figured ash (sometimes miscalled 'Hungarian Ash').  The natural keyplates are made of bone and the sharps are of bog oak, both of these being the materials traditionally used in the original Ruckers instruments.  In many places - on the lid, jackrail, the upper case mouldings and the front keywell moulding for example - the underlying poplar wood is left visible and is covered only in a layer of varnish.


          All of the decoration including the preparation of the block-printed papers, the soundboard painting, and the case marbling was carried out by Grant O’Brien.


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