Harpsichord after Theewes 1579

The seller writes: 

Single manual harpsichord compass CC chromatic to c’’’. The instrument is at a = 415 and the low C sharp is strung to sound at AA.  8’ + 4’ + 8’.  Oak.

Made after the oldest surviving harpsichord constructed in Britain - inscribed Ludowicus Theewes* me fesit 1579 - the original is on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. The keyboard balance point is more forward than most players will be accustomed to and therefore quite heavy but ideal for the Elizabethan and early Stuart repertoire.

Included in the sale is a very roughly made but sturdy table with a capacious shelf underneath.  The table is of the same height as the organ upon which the original instrument rests and which  may be sounded by means of the harpsichord’s keyboard. As a concession to modern day living spaces however, the table was not made so long and wide as the organ.  There is also a more conventional trestle stand available.

Made by Stephen Wessel directed by Michael Thomas in 1972, the harpsichord has more recently been furnished with a new keyboard, jack guides and rose by Malcolm Rose who also restrung the instrument.

In recent weeks a crack situated towards the bass between the gap and four foot bridge has appeared. [Visible in the fourth picture.] It does not affect the sound and could be repaired through the access port in the bottom of the instrument. The price has been set at £4,900 to reflect this.

* ‘It is pronounced Tay-wiss in modern Flemish, the first syllable firmly accented.’  See Malcolm Rose,  Further on the Lodewijk Theewes Harpsichord in The Galpin Society Journal,  LV, April 2002.

This one is near Taunton, Somerset.

Please contact Maria Boxall  mariaboxall@mac.com


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© David Hackett