Donzelague 1711/16

Pierre Donzelague was one of the earliest makers to incorporate a full 5 octave compass, FF – f3, in his instruments. Working in Lyons in the first quarter of the 18 th century, all 3 of his extant instruments, dated 1709, 1711 and 1716, are similar in outline and construction, and all three have this large compass, later to become standard.

A strong Flemish influence is to be seen in his work, both in construction and in decoration, reflecting the esteem in which older Flemish instruments, especially from the workshop of Ruckers in Antwerp , were held at the time. The larger case size of Donzelague’s instruments tend to give their sound more refinement, but still they retain some of the colour and presence found in his Flemish prototypes. I would describe their sound as ‘Flemish with a French accent’.

The decoration of Donzelague’s work shows echoes of the earlier Flemish style, with for example the use of printed papers, and faux marbling to the case sides. Although the original case decoration of the 1716 harpsichord has been overpainted later, the splendid original stand survives, on which I have based the stand illustrated here. In the ‘Gallery’ section, you will see alternative decorative possibilities, including marbled cases, and other stands.

A single-manual version is also available.


Range FF – f3, transposing A392-415 or 415 -440.
Optionally triple transposer.

Double: lower 8′, 4′, buff
upper 8′
shove coupler

Single: 2 x 8′, buff, optional 4′

Keyboards Ebony naturals with boxwood arcades, bone-topped ebony accidentals
Decoration Marbled case exterior as standard, with Flemish papers to the keywell and lid, and supported by a simple trestle stand in walnut. Options include more elaborate stands, soundboard decoration, lid paintings.

Double: 92” x 37” (234 x 94cm)

Single: 87″ x 37″ (221 x 94cm)


Soundboard decoration from
Table stands from
Lid painting from

Donzelague - Dornel - 'Allemand'

by Robin Bigwood