Single manual Italian harpsichord. Inner-outer case construction. Compass 51 notes: C₂ - D₆ [C - d''']. Two registers: 2 × 8-ft. Distal register fixed, proximal register movable using block on register itself. Pitched at A=440Hz
The case is made in the usual Italian style with the case sides overlapping the outside edges of the baseboard, and with heavy decorative mouldings reinforcing the upper edge of the case at the top and covering over the nails holding the case sides to the baseboard at the bottom. X-ray analysis shows the usual knees reinforcing the inside of the case with stiffening baseboard braces. The soundboard has a long diagonal soundbar running more-or-less parallel to the bridge plus one shorter diagonal soundbar in the bass/tenor part of the compass which runs underneath the bridge with a cut-out to prevent stifling the sound where the bridge crosses over the bar.
An X-ray analysis of the balance rail shows that the original compass was C₂/E/2 - F₆ [C/E - f'''] with split accidentals, 49 notes. The instrument went through an intermediate state between this original state and its present state. Flap cut in side of case suggests there was at some point a stop mechanism protruding from the treble side.
The case of the inner instrument is plainly decorated in oiled cypress with the usual upper and lower case mouldings and keywell scrolls. The nameboard is panelled in the usual Neapolitan style.
The outer case and stand are painted dark green. The outside of the case and lid has narrow gilt bands enclosing a richly-painted high baroque vinework decoration over a fairly heavy gesso ground. The stand, which appears to be original to the outer case and possibly to the instrument itself, is also painted dark green over a heavy gesso ground. The front support is composed of two architectural scrollwork legs tied between the upper and lower part of the stand, and the rear support uses the same legs placed back to back and crossed. The inside lid painting is modern and in an amateurish hand.
Restored by Leslie Ward in 1948; later work by John Barnes.
Sheila Barnes, 2007.
Bought by Raymond Russell in 1947.; Gift of Mrs Gilbert Russell, 1964.