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Harpsichord with one set of keys consisting of 50 notes, ranging from GG/BB to c3, with two sets of strings tuned at the same pitch. The soundboard is made of plain cypress wood, with a rosette made up of elaborate gothic tracery in parchment, built round six lobes enclosing a hexagon with concave sides. The instrument is abruptly truncated at the end. The edges of the instrument, jack rail and base of the keyboard are decorated with ivory studs. These parts, together with the nameboard and inner sides above the sound board, are veneered with rosewood, decorated with gilt moresques and inlaid with interlinking rhomboid patterns made up of ivory and boxwood. On two such rhomboids at either end of the name board the maker has signed and dated this harpsichord. The instrument is placed in a case decorated on the outside with scrolls along the bent and straight sides and a garland of roses on the outside of the lid, which was probably added about two hundred years after the instrument was made. The inside of the lid is elaborately decorated with grotesque ornament and consists of two parts, linked with staple hinges: the smaller part covers the keys and jackrail and the larger one the soundboard . The former consists of a circular batswing frame in the centre enclosing two winged putti holding up the three-crescent emblem of the Strozzi family. This frame is flanked by two moulded rectangular ones, each containing a prancing winged putto. All three frames are linked with bandwork, and the spaces in between are filled with masks and scrolls. A batswing lunette is placed at each end. The main part of the lid is dominated with a cartouche containing Apollo and the Muses. Either side are winged putti, masks, batswings lunettes and sphynxes and other grottesques. The decoration is crudely cut off at the end.

  • Date:
    1574 (made)
  • Maker:
    Baffo, Giovanni Antonio
  • Collection:
    Victoria and Albert Museum
  • Inventory number:
  • Place of production:
  • Culture:
  • Period:
  • Materials:Pine case, inner face veneered with rosewood, partly inlaid with boxwood; cypress soundboard
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  • Inscriptions:JOANES ANTONIUS BAFFO VENETUS MDLXXIIII Giovanni Antonio Baffo of Venice, 1574
  • Hornbostel-Sachs category:
  • Repository:Victoria and Albert Museum
  • Measurements:Length: 223 cm, Width: 90.7 cm, Depth: 18.7 cm