Orlando 2

 2 x 8'
Sol/La-ré  392/415/440
Fa-fa 415/440

 1 x 8' & 1 x 4'
Sol/La -ré  392/415/440



Notes du Musée:


Jerome of Bologna
Rome, Italy
Cypress case and soundboard, with decorative stringing, gilding and inlay
Length 180 cm
Width 75 cm
Depth 19.5 cm
Museum no. 226:1 to 3 -1879

This harpsichord was made in Rome in 1521 by Jerome of Bologna. Although almost nothing is known about its maker, this example is one of the earliest dated keyboard instruments to survive. Rome was the ideal place for an instrument maker to be in the early 1500s because music flourished there as much as art and architecture. Pope Leo X (reigned 1513-1521) was a keen patron of music and collector of musical instruments. Like most other surviving harpsichords of this date, this instrument, although treasured because of its quality and prestige, has subsequently been altered so as to keep up with the latest musical fashions.


Decoration by
Mireille Maestre



Cover painted by Mireille Maestre

Italian Harpsichords

    My latest Italian , Orlando 2, lime bentside, spruce bottom and spine,  wrestplank of very old recycled oak  veneered in ebony and with wavy maple inside veneers. A false inner/outer, the Mucciardi construction style, based on a Cristofori string layout. For the same person who has the previous model.



My very first harpsichord : N°1. Made at the London College of Furniture,  as close a copy as possible of the harpsichord by Ignazio Mucciardi, Rome 1702. At the time part of the Mirrey collection,  now in Edinburgh, St. Cecilia's Hall. All that was left of the original were some soundboard fragments, a rather broken case and some keys. Measurements of these relics and further deductions gave the result pictured here.

Here's a link to the Russell collection in St.  Cecilia's Hall, Edinburgh.



 A small Italian, a copy of the famous Hieronymus Bononiensis; Jerome of Bologna ; instrument dated 1521. Presently housed in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, ( the link is just below) it was  for many years the earliest known surviving harpsichord. I believe the earliest close to complete harpsichord known now dates at 1502. My copy was in fact started by A. Wooderson, who made the cypress case and the keyboard, and I completed with a new wrestplank, nameboard, soundboard, bridges and stringing to 1 x 8 in brass and 1 x 4 in iron, in a gut scaling.


View of keyboard of a large Italian Harpsichord,  This instrument is partly based on the measurements given in the Leipzig catalogue, n° 84, an original by Bartolomeo Cristofori. I have followed, as closely as possible, having not recently seen the original; the string layout, plucking points and case proportions. Variations from the original are major, as the case construction is of the false inner outer type, poplar with yew linings. The bottom is of pine, the beech wrestplank veneered in walnut, the keys have box naturals and inlaid  sharps, based on Ignazio Mucciardi's backgammon style sharps. Also; the keylevers themselves are of lime, not of beech as in the original.

This same instrument under construction. Bottom up construction order, dovetailed corners, inset wrestplank, knees slotted into the bottom, all these are variations on the original. Need I be more clear about this: I make them they way I want to! The proof is in the pudding, and as there is no lack of really authentic makers, or at least of those who are sure they are.... if that's what you prefer! Still, I feel that as I'm going to spend my life making musical instruments, I can make them with the same point of view as that of a historical maker: They made their own instruments. Each maker worked in the tradition of his time, with the tools and customs of his master.        I work in my time, with some, never enough,  knowledge of the historical tradition and the desire to make instruments that can be considered  to fulfill their role as the musician's tool. They have to work well and sound good. Sounds easy, doesn't it? Call me up if you agree....