David Leigh Harpsichord 1975

Single manual Italian harpsichord by David Leigh 1975.  This is a copy of a c17th Italian harpsichord made in the mid 70’s but hand built along traditional lines unlike many of that vintage. David Leigh is a restorer builder and player of early instruments active in the 70s -90s chiefly dealing with original keyboard instruments. I bought this instrument as a restoration project just over a decade ago and carried out the work in the workshop of Alan Gotto in preparation for the “Monteverdi year” in 2010.  A new soundboard was installed, transposition blocks fitted and it was revoiced and re strung in Malcolm Rose brass. I also had some fun “distressing” the case hence the antique appearance. I also had my erstwhile neighbour (a professional forger who has since vanished) paint the lid, which is a copy of a Stubbs hunting scene. It has 4 octaves C - c’’’ and transposes three ways: 415 - 440 - 465 (the latter being its raison d’être for Monteverdi, it being high Italian pitch). 2 x 8’ registers, wooden jacks and Delrin plectra. It measures 80” long, 30” wide at keyboard end and 35” high It sits on a tradition two piece Italian stand which makes moving and setting up very easy. It is extremely light and portable so it is perfect for continuo. It comes with Liberace-esque music desk with antique sconces fitted either side. There are a couple of quirks that I must draw to your attention, firstly (and I’m not sure why) one of the registers tunes in the opposite direction of the other, in other words it is wound around the tuning pin contrary to the usual direction, I have not found this a problem but thought I should mention it as it’s an extremely unorthodox practice. Secondly, the keyboard appears to be an exact copy of an old one and as you may be able to see from the photos the keys are very small and dumpy which some modern players may find difficult, especially in negotiating the accidentals. Like my French harpsichord also to be listed, this instrument is very stable indeed, I have used it for continuo with both modern and baroque orchestras and it has a typical Italian sound, lots of attack and crackle, cutting through the ensemble. I’ve used it in venues as big as Coventry Cathedral in the past and it did not disappoint! I’m selling all of my instruments due to the financial impact of lockdown and an uncertain future, so please see my other items. [on this page soon]  Collection and viewing are welcome in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire and I am equally happy to deliver, tune and set up for a small fee so please message me for more details. Price £2,700.  Cash on collection or direct transfer preferable.


Please contact David Wright  harpsichord.dave@googlemail.com


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