Italian Harpsichord

My Italian harpsichord is based on an anonymous, undated instrument in the collection of Christopher Hogwood. In its current state, this instrument is specified in what could be described as a conventional 18 th century Italian instrument, with 4 ½ octaves and 2×8′, strung in brass. Although this undated instrument may well have had an earlier history with a different specification, my interest is in reproducing a good Italian continuo harpsichord with a useful compass.

This instrument has shown itself to be an excellent all-round workhorse for continuo use, and also has plenty of character for the relevant solo repertoire, from the earliest Italian composers, through the English virginalists, to Scarlatti and Bach.

The original instrument was decorated in two contrasting faux-marble effects, similar to one of my instruments illustrated here; I have created the illusion of a separate inner case by the technique known as ‘false inner-outer’, by lining the inside of the painted case with cypress or cedar veneer, mouldings, etc.


Range GG – d3 transposing A415-440,
or double transposition A392-415-440
Disposition 2 x 8′
Keyboards Boxwood naturals and arcades, ebony-topped walnut accidentals
Decoration Painted outer case with cedar or cypress ‘false inner case’, supported by a two-part typical Italian stand.
Dimensions Length 94″ x 33″ (239 x 87cm)



After anon undated – £9500

Case decoration from – £1000

Italian harpsichord - Rossi ' Toccata VII '

by Gary Cooper