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Couchet/Blanchet/Taskin harpsichord (Collection Kenneth Gilbert, Chartres)

Couchet/Blanchet/Taskin harpsichord (Collection Kenneth Gilbert)

Couchet/Blanchet/Taskin harpsichord (Collection Kenneth Gilbert, Chartres)

One of the most famous original harpsichord in the world. It is even likely that W.A. Mozart played this instrument in 1778...

This harpsichord has a unique history. The names of three of the greatest harpsichord builders from various epochs are connected with the instrument: Couchet (Antwerp), Blanchet and Pascal Taskin (both Paris).

The beautiful rosette, the eye-catcher of the painted sound board, carries the initials I.C. for Ioseph Ioannes Couchet. Only in recent years did it come to light that in fact nearly 100 years later (the manuals are dated 1757) the Frenchman Françoise-Etienne Blanchet II built this harpsichord. However, for the soundboard, the “heart”, so to say, of this majestic instrument - and here we find the date 1671! -, he used the wood of at least one Couchet harpsichord or virginal.

The peau de buffle register - an additional leather register instead of the usual quills - and the knee levers - instead of the hand stops were finally given to the instrument by Pascal Taskin, as we can see from the inscription on the wrest plank “Refait par Pascal Taskin à Paris 1778.”