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Harpsichord 1M

1769 (dated)
Origin: Great Britain, England, Manchester
Net dimensions exclude lid, stand and projecting moldings. All dimensions in mm except where noted. Length: 2,226 mm (net 2,213 mm); Width: 976 mm (net 961 mm); Height: 922 mm (net 278 mm)
Dimple-figured dark hardwood: case exterior veneer panels; Mahogany: case crossbanding(?), lid, carved legs, apron veneer; Oak: spine and probably other case side substrates, key frame, apron substrate, drawer sides and bottom; Rosewood: name batten (solid), crossbanding, apron veneer; Sycamore: molded key fronts; Beech: nuts; Spruce: soundboard; Holly: nameboard inscription inlay, stop label inlays, possibly light string inlay; Softwood: bottom; Fruitwood: jacks, registers; Limewood: key levers; Ebony: sharps; Ivory: natural key tops; Brass: stop knobs; Iron: stop levers; Leather: jack pads; Cloth: key frame, dampers
Gift of Pamela Seekins Paulu
Acc. No. 2003-57,A
CASE DECORATION: The oak case exterior sides are veneered with some kind of exotic wood with a grain pattern similar to birds-eye. There is rosewood crossbanding with white-black-white stringing. The bent side is divided into three panels, and there is evidence of lid hooks (now lost) centered on each panel. (There are empty indentations in the lid where the eyelet hardware is also missing.) The inner rim is vertical-grained rosewood(?) with one line of white-black-white line stringing. The case molding has (top to bottom) ogee, bead and filet. A cast brass sound hole decoration consists of King David flanked by the initials "IK", and appears identical to Kirckman's rose.
KEYWELL: The keywell is decorated with the same panels, crossbanding, and stringing as the case. It has a bracket-ended holly inscription inlay for the main inscription, and separate ones for both pairs of hand stops. The inscriptions are on the "foreboard" and not on the removable batten immediately over the keys.
LID: The lid is made of solid mahogany, with underside cleats added in a previous restoration. The strap hinges are replacements, apparently based on the previous owner's Pether harpsichord: the hinges repeat the historical design departures of the Pether hinges and add additional departures indicating successive deterioration of historical detail. The flap hinges appear to be original. The molding around the perimiter appears to be a replacement. The present prop stick is not original.
STAND AND PEDALS: Mysteriously, the cabriole leg was a common feature in fine English furniture in the second half of the eighteenth century, and was common on continental harpsichords, but this appears to be the only known example on an English harpsichord. (See "Harpsichord Decoration - A Conspectus" Sheridan Germann in _The Historical Harpsichord_ vol. 4, 2002, p.84-85.) According to witness marks on the bottom of the harpsichord, the present stand is original. Boalch also lists a Kirshaw spinet with similar legs, termed in that instance, "spoon feet." The stand consists of four cabriole legs with pad feet, and a 91mm rosewood-veneered apron with a music drawer at the keyboard end. An old and possibly period pedal survives with the harpsichord, but has been detached for many years.
COMPASS: FF, GG–f3 (5 octaves)
STOPS: Four hand stops: left pair for 4-foot and buff and right pair for back 8-foot and front 8-foot. One pedal (now removed but surviving) turned off the back 8-foot and 4-foot
Provenance:Possibly belonged to vicar of Snodland, Kent, early in twentieth century; then owned by Alan Legg of Cirencester, who sold it to Michael Thomas in 1961; sold to Norman Paulu of Madison, WI; given to CWF by Pamela Seekins Paulu in 2003
Mark(s):• "Jno. Kirshaw Apr 19th 1769" in ink on bottom jack
• "Alfred Reeve Restituit / Maidenhead / 1961" in ink on key bed under front rail of keyboard
• "Alfred Reeve Restituit 1961" in ink on side of bottom key
• "Octave" and "Buff Stop" in ink on nameboard under left two hand stops
• "2 Unison" and "1 Unison" in ink on nameboard under right two hand stops
Inscription(s):"John Kirshaw Manchester 1769" in ink on nameboard