Harpsichord

Description
Harpsichords are stringed instruments played with a keyboard. When you press a key, a string is plucked. This harpsichord was made in Florence in 1782 by Vincenzo Sodi. It was probably played at fashionable entertainments. Only five of Sodi’s harpsichords are known to have survived and this is the only one in Britain. It once belonged to a lady who lived in Florence in the 1920s. She left it to her nephew in Devon. In 1934 his family gave it to RAMM.
This harpischord can produce five octaves instead of the more usual four which made it suitable for compositions by composers like Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757).
Italy was the foremost producer of harpischords. They were very expensive. Their lids were often painted with landscape scenes. On this one there is a scene of Moses in the bulrushes under the main cover. Paintings of ships and mountain scenes as well as floral arrangements decorate the rest of the instrument. We do not know exactly who made these paintings. They may have been altered by a restorer called Leopoldo Franciolini after 1890.
Many harpsichords were replaced by pianos after 1800.
Accession Loan No.
105/1934/3
Collection Class
Musical instruments
Common Name
Harpsichord
Simple Name
musical instrument
Full Name
Keyboard instrument: harpsichord
Dimensions
whole length 2425 mm; whole W 1010 mm; keyboard W 860 mm; keys (each) length 120 mm
Production Person Surname
Sodi
Production Person Initials
Vincenzio
Period Classification
George III (1760-1811)
Production Date
1782
Production Year Low
1781
Production Year High
1782
Production Town
Florence
Production Country
Italy
Production Area Region
Southern Europe
Production Continent
Europe
Family Group

Material
cypress (painted); spruce; steel and brass; oak (boxwood veneered ); walnut (boxwood veneered )
Inscription / Transcription
IHS; JMJ (or IMI)
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