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4465 HCH

Joannes Ruckers, Antwerp, 1617

4465  HCH

This was originally a standard Ruckers transposing two-manual harpsichord with two sets of strings ( 8' and 4'), four sets of jacks, and two keyboards a fourth apart in pitch. The upper-manual compass was C/E to c3 (45 notes); the lower-manual was C/E to f3 (50 notes). As happened with almost all Ruckers harpsichords, the instrument was altered in accordance with musical requirements of the later Baroque.  The present state stems from a ravalement carried out in England about 1740-1750.  The case and soundboard were extended in width by about 95 mm in the treble to accomodate new keyboards with the enlarged compass of GG,AA to f3 (58 notes); the bridges and hitch-pin rails were repinned for slightly closer spacing of the strings; a second set of 8' was provided; and the disposition became 8' and 4' on the lower manual and a dogleg 8' playable from both manuals.

The soundboard retains the original Ruckers painted decoration (retouched and extended in places) with flowers, borders and arabesques, and the soundwell is decorated with typical Ruckers printed paper.  During the ravalement the case as redecorated with brilliant red lacquer on the interior of the led, the keywell, and jackrail as a ground for gold chinoiserie of flowers, leaves, a basket of fruit, and birds.  The exterior has similar decorations on panels with a green ground surrounded by greenish black.  Handsome chased brass hinges were provided for the lid, and a stand was made in the current English fashion.

John Koster, 2018

View:   Full report by John Koster here