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Clavichord
American, 20th century
Made by Chickering and Sons under the direction of Arnold Dolmetsch
Boston, 1906

From 1905 until 1911 Arnold Dolmetsch worked with Chickering and Sons in a special division of the Boston piano maker's factory that was set up to produce harpsichords, spinets, clavichords, viols and lutes. During this period it is remarkable that 72 keyboard instruments were produced. These instruments anticipated the revival of the classical harpsichord and clavichord. Dolmetsch modeled this instrument, "No. 1" after a clavichord made by Christian Gotthelf Hoffman in 1784 (also now in the Yale Collection). This clavichord is the first historically-based clavichord to be built in the USA in the 20th century. The Dolmetsch-Chickering harpsichords and clavichords were without equal when new and were superior in tone and action to the contemporary European instruments, a situation that remained unchanged untial after World War II. This clavichord was fully restored to playing condition in 1992 by the museum's conservators, Frank Rutkowski and Robert Robinette..

Compass: five octaves and one note: FF to f '''. Inscription (painted on name batten): "CHICKERING · & · SONS · BOSTON · USA · MCMVI No. 1". A second insription behind the hitchpins at the left reads: "Made by Chickering & Sons under the direction of Arnold Dolmetch / Boston / MCMVI / No. 1". The outside of the case is and trestle stand are painted dark green; the inside of the lid is painted vermilion. The decoration consists of gilt mouldings on the case and lid and a gold band on the inside of the lid around the motto: "MUSICA MAGNORUM EST SOLAMEN DULCE LABORUM". Length: 172.3 cm; width: 50.7 cm; depth of case: 15.5 cm.

Gift of David and Catherine Way
Accession No. 4954.1989

 

 

 
   
 
 
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