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Harpsichord

Harpsichord

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1776 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Shudi, Burkat (maker)
    Broadwood, John, born 1732 - died 1812 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Mahogany- and satinwood-veneered case of oak, spruce soundboard, oak Venetian swell, ivory naturals with boxwood fronts and bevelled ebony sharps

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Charles Hey Laycock

  • Museum number:

    W.13 to B-1943

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

During the 1780s harpsichord makers such as Burkat Shudi (1738–1803) and John Broadwood (1732–1812) faced increasingly stiff competition from grand pianos, on which a much more modulated sound could be achieved. In response, English harpsichord builders made larger instruments and fitted them with devices designed to vary the volume. But by about 1800 the piano had prevailed, largely thanks to the efforts of Broadwood himself. Broadwood had started his career making harpsichords in the workshop of Shudi's father, Burkat Shudi the elder (1702–1773). In 1770 he formed a partnership with his employer, making both types of instruments, which he continued with the younger Shudi from 1773 until 1793. After 1793 Broadwood traded alone, exclusively making pianos.

Physical description

Harpsichord fitted with two manuals and five brass hand stops, Venetian swell (a series of opening and closing oak slats), spruce soundboard and oak case veneered with mahogany and satinwood. The hand stops control the lute, 4-foot, harp, and two 8-foot sets of strings. The instrument has a range of sixty-six notes, CC-f3 chromatic.The sharps are ebony and the naturals are covered with ivory.

Place of Origin

London (made)

Date

1776 (made)

Artist/maker

Shudi, Burkat (maker)
Broadwood, John, born 1732 - died 1812 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Mahogany- and satinwood-veneered case of oak, spruce soundboard, oak Venetian swell, ivory naturals with boxwood fronts and bevelled ebony sharps

Marks and inscriptions

Burkat Shudi et Johannes Boadwood No. 919 Londini Fecerunt 1782. Great Pulteney Street. Golden Square
Burkat Shudi and John Broadwood made this in London in 1782. Great Pulteney Street. Golden Square.
Inscribed in ink on the nameboard

Dimensions

Length: 267.8 cm, Width: 145 cm, Depth: 33.2 cm, Height: 93.5 cm, Weight: 148 kg

Object history note

This instrument was presented to the Victoria & Albert Museum in 1943 by Charles Hey Laycock, Esq.

Descriptive line

English harpsichord, spruce soundboard, oak case veneered with mahogany and satinwood, by Shudi & Broadwood. 1783.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Howard Schott: Catalogue of Musical Instruments in the Victoria and Albert Museum - Part I: Keyboard instruments. (London, V & A Publications, 1998), pp. 97 - 99

Labels and date

HARPSICHORD
Burkat Shudi and Broadwood, London 1782.
The case and lid are veneered with panels of mahogany cross-banded with satinwood.

This is an example of the largest model of harpsichord regularly made in England in the second half of the 18th century. It is fitted with a 'Venetian Swell' mechanism. Marked above the keyboards: Burkat Shudi et Johannes Broadwood No.919, 1782.

Given by Mr. Charles Hey Laycock.
Catalogue No. 26. [pre October 2000]
HARPSICHORD, English, by Burkat Shudi and John Broadwood, London, 1782, inscribed, Burkat Shudi et Johannes Broadwood No 919 Londini Fecerunt 1782. Great Pulteney Street. Golden Square. Spruce soundboard, mahogany and satinwood veneered case. Keyboard compass CC - f3, one four-foot, two eight -foot stops and one lute stop. Venetian swell.

Museum No.: W.13-1943
Keyboard Catalogue No.: 36

From about 1770, various devices such as the Venetian swell and the nag's head swell were being contrived by English builders to vary the tone and volume of the harpsichord, in emulation of the new effects being brought out on the piano. The last three decades of the eighteenth century saw the zenith of English harpsichord making.

Burkat Shudi emigrated from Switzerland to London in 1718 and from 1769 produced fine harpsichords in partnership with John Broadwood, his son-in-law and former apprentice.

Given to the V & A by Charles Hey Laycock, Esq. [pre September 2000]

Materials

Ebony; Ivory; Boxwood; Satinwood; Mahogany; Brass; Oak

Techniques

Veneering; Planing; Joining; Bevelling

Categories

Musical instruments

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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