When Bernard Trasuntinis made this harpsichord in 16th-century Venice, the city was abuzz with musical instrument makers. Like other harpsichords of its time this instrument could be removed from its case and played on a table. It is the oldest, playable instrument in our collection, though it now stands in a modern outer case.This instrument has a modern outer case which highlights the cypress inner instrument. Like many Italian instruments this has a boxwood keyboard, and the accidentals are of ebony. The surname Trasuntino is associated with several 16th-century harpsichord and clavichord makers although this is the only instrument to bear the name Bernardius. The date of 1574 makes this the oldest playing instrument in the collection. (Rodger Mirrey Collection).
Bernard Trasuntino is believed to have been a member of the harpsichord making Trasuntino family in Venice. Alessandro, possibly his father, was an organ and harpsichord maker in Venice in the first half of the sixteenth century. Several harpsichords by this family survive from the sixteenth century by Alessandro, Giovanni and Guido. However, little is known of any of these makers.
No information recorded.
Technical description: Single manual Italian harpsichord. Inner-outer case construction. Compass 50 notes: G₁/B₁ - C₆ [GG/BB - c''']. Two registers: Currently 2 × 8-ft. Redundant stop lever on wrestplank. Distal 8-ft register fixed, proximal 8-ft register movable. Pull-down holes for C₂, D₂, E₂, F₂, G₂, A₂, B♭₂, B₂ [C, D, E, F, G, A, B♭, B]. Two-part stand acquired by donor with the instrument.
Decoration: Pierced parchment rose in the soundboard. The arcaded natural keys are of boxwood; the accidentals of ebony.
Signature/Marks: Inscribed on jackrail "BERNARDINVS DE TRASVNTINIS FECIT MDLXXIIII".
Repair History: Marks on the soundboard indicate that the original disposition was 1 × 8-ft, 1 × 4-ft. Holes in the bottom boards suggest that pull-down pedals were added at some time. The replacement outer case remains unpainted. Restored by Malcolm Rose in 1985-86 with further work by Malcolm Rose in 1999-2000.
Bought by donor from Robert Morley & Co Ltd in 1970.; Gift of Rodger and Lynne Mirrey, 2005.