SPECIALIST HARPSICHORD DECORATION
The FlorenceArt.Net studio specialises in the decoration of harpsichords, whether that be the study and reproduction of antique instruments or the invention of new decorative schemes. Over the last 20 years we have worked with a variety of clients from individuals to opera houses. We are expert in the traditional techniques of gilding, chinoiserie, soundboard painting, and the execution of raised borders. We also collaborate with carpenters and woodcarvers to produce stands and accessories.
Alison specialises in the decoration of soundboards and has produced many over the years. In particular she is able to create the raised borders and arabesques that are a sought after element on antique soundboards. She can make custom decorations on the soundboard, adding elements that are symbolic or meaningful to the owner of the instrument, or she can create soundboard decorations in Flemish, German or French historical styles. The Gallery below shows some specific Soundboard decoration completed by the FlorenceArt.Net studio in the past.
HARPSICHORD DECORATION PROJECTS
Berlin - 2021
In 2021 Alison and her daughter Sonia were commissioned to reproduce a famous historical harpsichord made by Michael Mietke and decorated by Gerard Dagly in the beginning of the 18th century that is conserved at the Palace of Charlottenburg in Berlin. This historical instrument is well loved and studied in the world of early music because of its associations with Johann Sebastian Bach. The video below shows the process of creating the relief gilt chinoiserie done with the ‘pastiglia’ method on the outside of the harpsichord case, and the intricate hand painted border decorations of the lid.
Switzerland - 2013
This commission was for the decoration of a newly constructed Claviorgan, a combined harpsichord and organ. The design was inspired by a unique historical example, the Theewes Claviorgan dating from 1579, now in the Victoria and Albert museum in London. The video below contains a slideshow of the entire process.
Japan - 2016
JAN COUCHET STYLE
The studio was asked to create the decoration and to build a carved wooden stand for a newly made harpsichord by the Atelier Marc Ducornet in Paris for a client in Japan. The decoration and the stand are based on a historical harpsichord in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of art in New York which is attributed to Jan Couchet the elder, a Flemish builder who continued the tradition of the famous Ruckers family, and is dated 1650 circa.
We worked closely with specialised carpenters and a wood carver to recreate the elaborately carved stand. The raw wood case and stand were then coated with traditional gilder’s gesso, sanded carefully, gilded with real gold leaf and burnished. The next step was the creation of the hand painted designs in custom mixed pigment colors in rabbit skin glue. The finished work was then given a soft patina wax to evoke the quality of an antique instrument. Please see the gallery below for images of this harpsichord commission.