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Harpsichord, Alessandro Trasuntino, Venice, 1531

DETAILS

Object name
Maker
Date
1531
Place
Object number
RCM0002
Acquisition
Gift from Donaldson, George — 1894

Description

A single-manual harpsichord in an outer case built in Venice during the second quarter of the 16th century. Its compass is currently G1/B1 short octave to c3, 50 notes but was probably originally C/E short octave to f3, also 50 notes. It is laid out for two sets of 8ft strings, but originally had one set of 8ft and one of 4ft strings; the buff was probably added in the 18th century. The instrument is ornamented with ivory beads placed at regular intervals. The sides of the soundwell, the jackrail and the scrolls are decorated with Renaissance vine-work and knotted arabesques in gilt and oil paint. The front of the nameboard has Renaissance motifs in gold, oil and ink. The sharp blocks were originally decorated with gilt arabesques that have mostly been worn away. The outside of the outer case is painted a dark olive green and the panels created by the vertical straps are painted in grisaille. The outside of the lid is painted in a grisaille vine-work pattern; the inside of the lid is painted in the style of Paris Bordone of Venice (c.1580), depicting Venus and Cupid and a hunting scene towards the tail.

Dimensions

Length: 2227mm. Width: 767mm.

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