Harpsichord, Jacob and Abraham Kirkman, London, 1773


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Gift of Edith Hipkins, 1903, in memory of her father, Alfred James Hipkins.


This double-manual harpsichord has a compass of F1, G1–f3, (without F♯1) and three sets of strings. The brass stop knobs in the keywell control (from left to right) the harp stop, lute stop, 4ft strings on the lower manual, 8ft strings playable from both manuals (with ‘dog leg’ jacks), and the 8ft strings on the lower manual. This gives the player a wide range of tone colours and volumes to utilise for contrasts in timbre. There are two pedals, the left being a ‘machine’ working in conjunction with a stop lever in the left hand key cheek.The right pedal controlled a ‘nag's head’ swell device which is no longer operable. The instrument is veneered in a range of woods, including mahogany panels with sycamore stringing, walnut with sycamore stringing and burr walnut veneer framed with kingwood. The soundboard rose is cast and gilded, showing King David playing a harp, surrounded by a collection of instruments and the initials ‘IK’. The music desk is typical, with candle ledges at either end which can be slid forwards so that the light shines on the music.

[View instrument in print catalogue]


Length: 2370mm. Width: 936.5mm.

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