International studio — 36.1908/​1909(1909)

Page: XXVII
DOI issue: DOI article: DOI Page: Citation link: 
https://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/international_studio36/0125
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A RTISTIC PIANO DEC-
/\ ORATION—OLD AND
/—A NEW
i 1L BYJOSEPHBURR
TIFFANY


To TURN harpsichords, spinets
a.nd piano cases into jewels of hne art
has been the delight of many of the
greatest artists the world has known
in any time. A spinet made by
Annibale Rossi in Italy (1577) is
covered with panels and borders of
ebony, richiy decorated with plaques
of lapis lazuli and precious stones,
which are framed with cartouches
of ivory, finely and delicateiy carved.
Each panel is itself surrounded with
ornaments of ivory, incrusted with
rubies, topazes, emeralds and fine
pearls. The panel of the keyboard
is ornamented with macarons and
arabesques alternately. On the trans-
verse bar, which is also incrusted
with fine pearls, are placed three grace-
ful hgures, in ivory, of amours piaying
the viol. The white keys are made
of agates, variousiy framed in ivory,
the black of lapis lazuii. The key-
board is terminated at each end by
consoles, decorated with very eiegant
hgurines carved in boxwood.
The Seventeenth century work
of Joannes Couchet, Flanders, in
a dainty harpsichord, evidences a
high degree of taste and iove for the
beautifui. The case of this instru-
ment is trapeze in shape, supported
on a wooden stand with seven legs,
finely decorated with carving and giit
gesso work, the outside case painted
with fiowers and conventional orna-
ment on a gilt ground, the interior of
the case ornamented with black scroii tracery on
a giit ground.
Another exampie of early work is the harpsichord
made in Italy in 1600, the outer case decorated
with large scroll-work device, the interior of the
cover painted with sacred subjects. Others there
are painted with pastoral and musical subjects rich
in color and, it may be, from the brush of a Rubens
or Boucher. A great change came over decora-
tions after 1770, at which time we Hnd both artist
and artisan vying with each other to include al]

HARPSICHORD, SEVENTEENTH
CENTURY, FLANDERS,

DECORATED BY CARVINGS AND
GILT GESSO AND SCROLL WORK

the latest novelties. Holland was working her will
with marquetry, producing her interpretation of the
Italian in tarsia done in many-colored woods.
Investigation shows the timid beginnings of
mahogany in its experimental stage. This king of
woods has done more than all others to produce
beauty of line and bestow beauty of color in the
furniture of our homes. AII these schemes of
ornamentation are reHected in our work of to-day„
as all great artists have ever had emulators.
J. B. T.

XXVH
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