A Franco-Flemish double-manual harpsichord, originally a 'transposing' harpsichord made in Antwerp in 1617 by an unknown maker.  It was given a bass ravalement in Paris sometime between 1742 and 1750.  Then, in 1750, it received a major alteration when it was given a bass ravalement and was lavishly decorated by François Étienne Blanchet.  Later is was given a treble ravalement in 1786 by Jacques Barberini and Nicolas Hoffmann.



Examples of Arabesque and Figure Paintings by Christophe Huet

for comparison with the decorations on the Franco-Flemish harpsichord.


Examples of Huet decoration from the interiors of the Chateau Champs-sur-Marne:


Chateau de Champs-sur-Marne: 

note the characteristic 'geometrical'

arabesques alongside

the foliate arabesques.

Chateau de Champs-sur-Marne:

Chateau de Champs-sur-Marne:

Chateau de Champs-sur-Marne:  A rare

example of a human figure - but, as is most

common, the figures are Chinese.

Chateau de Champs-sur-Marne:  Another

rare example of human figures in Huet

decoration - but, as is most common, the

figures are Chinese.  Is this a kind of sexual

perversion scene with the head (and mouth)

of one figure buried deeply in the crotch of

another - or am I the pervert in

thinking it so??


Chateau de Champs-sur-Marne:  a good

example of the delicately elegant Huet


Chateau de Champs-sur-Marne:

Chateau de Champs-sur-Marne:  a fairly

common mix of geometrical arabesques,

foliate decoration, foliage, etc. decoration.

The inventiveness of the highlights and

shadows in totally imaginary objects

is extraordinary.







Examples of Huet's decorations from the Chateau de Chantilly:


Huet Chantilly:  typical ornaments

Huet in Chantilly:  In honour of a very

special grandfather monkey!

Huet Chantilly:  A wonderful example of

Huet's invention and his mixture of floral,

imaginary, gilt, foliate decoration.  His

curves and spirals are always beautifully

carried out and seem, almost, to follow

a theoretical mathematical curve.

Huet Chantilly:  detail.

Huet Chantilly:  a good example of

Huet Singerie decoration - usually

his figure paintings are of monkeys

and not of humans or putti, although the

figures on the case sides of the Franco-

Flemish harpsichord are all human or

(at least) putto figures.



Huet's decoration of Francois Blanchet harpsichord, Paris, 1733, Chateau de Thoiry (the earliest example here):


1733 Blanchet double-manual harpsichord:

the decoration of a part of the cheek of the


1733 Blanchet double-manual harpsichord:

front flap decoration - dejà vu?

1733 Blanchet double-manual harpsichord: 

a part of the cheek decoration.  The dancing

crane is both spectacular and exquisite!

1733 Blanchet double-manual harpsichord:

a part of the interior of the lid flap.

1733 Blanchet double-manual harpsichord: 

a part of the interior of the lid flap.  This

kind of decorations was clearly from the

imagination of a genius!

1733 Blanchet double-manual harpsichord:

an inventive mix of foliate and scallop

decoration in various colours enrichedf with

invented highlights and shadows.



Important Features of this harpsichord


A brief history of the musical and decorative states of the Franco-Flemish harpsichord


Details of the original state of the instrument


Details of the eighteenth-century states of this harpsichord


 Details of the modern history of this harpsichord


 Problems encountered in the ethical restoration of this harpsichord



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This page was last revised on 25 August 2022.