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bell

struck idiophone

This bell was probably made by the bell-founder Pieter Van den Gheyn the Younger, from Mechelen. Several generations of bell-founders with the Van den Gheyn name were active in that town before the family settled in Leuven. Their instruments are found as far afield as Spain and Sweden, clear evidence of the family's international reputation.

This bell, decorated rather soberly, has a gracefully curved form. Around its head is the signature 'Petrus Van den Gheyn me fecit MDLXXXXV', followed by the coat-of-arms of the town of Mechelen. Because it has a clapper within, the instrument served as a ringing bell, although the wear on the outside suggests that it was also played using an external clapper. It is possible that it was part of a carillon, which would be fitting, given the pleasing sound that was specific to Van den Gheyn bells.

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Van den Gheyn bell
detail of Van den Gheyn bell showing the Mechelen coat-of-arms