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The Golden Age of Flemish Harpsichord Making

Among the great names in the history of harpsichord making, that of the Ruckers is probably the most famous. This dynasty of makers, represented by four generations active in Antwerp between c.1580 and c.1680, exerted a predominant influence in Western Europe. Their harpsichords and virginals, synonyms of extraordinary workmanship, acquired a tremendous reputation that extended beyond European borders and lasted until well after their active period. The envy they inspired was such that it gave rise to large-scale counterfeiting, probably the most significant in the field of instrument making up to then. 

The MIM owns eighteen instruments considered at the time of their acquisition to be made in the Ruckers workshop. Given the considerable patrimonial interest of this collection, a project centred on its conservation, study, restoration and enhancement was set up. The Golden Age of Flemish Harpsichord Making: a Study of the MIM's Ruckers Instruments sums up this fascinating research and sheds new light on this outstanding heritage. 

This survey is directed by Pascale Vandervellen, curator of the stringed keyboard instruments of the mim. 

She obtained a Master's Degree in Musicology in 1988 and a PhD in History of Art and Archeology from Paris IV/ La Sorbonne University and Brussels University in 2007 with a thesis concerning Belgian piano makers. She has worked in the Musical Instruments Museum (MIM), Brussels since 1995 and is currently in charge of the keyboard instruments. She has conducted extensive research and published numerous books and articles in this field. The qualities of Pascale Vandervellen's research have been rewarded twice by the Académie royale des Sciences, des Lettres et des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, first in 1991 and again in 2009.

The book is available in the museum shop or can be ordered here

420 pages - € 59

List of Ruckers instruments in 16th and 17th century paintings