Flemish Double-Manual Harpsichord
The members of the Ruckers family of Antwerp dominated harpsichord making North of the Alps for the first 50 years of the 17th century. They produced virginals in a variety of forms and sizes, but their single and double-manual harpsichords were the most prized. By the end of the 17th century their singles, with only a 1x8', 1x4' disposition and a 45-note (four-octave) short- octave keyboard, seemed hopelessly inadequate. But the instruments were far too valuable to discard, so in a process called ravalement, they were rebuilt to give them the more flexible disposition of 2x8', or 2x8', 1x4', and the compass was enlarged.
The Ruckers' double-manual harpsichords were originally made with their keyboards unaligned--the lower manual was a fourth lower than the upper. Later, they underwent ravalement as well, and in the process their keyboards were lined up. Our Flemish instruments have been "enlarged" to four and a half octaves with chromatic bass, giving a compass useful for most of the music written in the baroque. Since these single- and double-manual harpsichords were redecorated in current local fashion after the rebuilding process, a variety of decorative options is available, ranging from the Ruckers marbling to the French gold bands and moldings. [Continued]
Click on thumbnail photos for detail
||2x8', 1x4', buff; stop levers in keywell
||56+1 notes, GG-d'''; transposable A415/A440
||app. 87" x 34"
||app. 143 lbs.
||2 reverse keyboards with ebony naturals, bone-slipped sharps and pearwood arcades; wooden jacks
||case in lime or basswood; oak wrestplank; Swiss pine soundboard
- Antique style music wire
- Soundboard painting
- Decorative rose in the soundboard
- Case and interior lid painting in Flemish or another style (simple faux marble, or two colors) using traditional techniques
- Flemish papers around the inner case and in the keywell
- Adjustable, folding music desk, regular and continuo lid sticks in waxed, natural oak
- Dust cover
- Keyboards with bone naturals and oak sharps, and with arcades in embossed leather
- Special motifs on the case and other decorative details
- Staining of the natural woods
- Table stand
- Padded cover
Signed D. Jacques Way.