Harpsichord 2

August 12, 2007


Applying the blue lines and scallops

Making the very first marks on a virgin sound board is always a little bit intimidating. The plain lines are the most difficult  because every little wobble stands out starkly. When the scallops are added, though, the imperfections seem to diminish. And by the time the board is completely painted, the whole effect is actually made more charming by the small irregularities.  

I read on another harpsichord decorator’s site not to get too perfectionistic, because after all, the strings will be added above the board, and then most likely over the months, a thin layer of dust will cover it all. And the whole effect from a distance is more important than the separate details. 

I remember working hard to make my first sound board painting as beautiful and perfect as possible. Then the instrument builder and I went to The Hague to see an original instrument upon which the replica we were working on was based.  IT WAS WILD! The blue lines were drunkenly weaving up and down, the scallops sometimes touched the line and often didn’t. The paint was just thrown on there, I couldn’t believe my eyes!  And yet, standing back, the whole effect was stunning.

It stands to reason that it was hastily done; I read that in the heyday of harpsichord production, a team of painters would complete a soundboard painting in 3 winter days or 2 summer days.

It takes me about  30-40 hours spread over a month, although it would probably go faster if I did more than one every 4 years!

4 Responses to “Harpsichord 2”

  1. lifecreativitycoach Says:

    I would love to see the harpsicord when it is done. I hope you upload some more images.


  2. szoutewelle Says:

    thanks, Terri. Am awaiting approval of the overall design from the customer, after that I’ll get to work and there will be a lot to post here.
    Nice to know someone is interested. cheers, Sarah

  3. Just that vivid blue alone is gorgeous; I will be very excited to see the finished product. I am sure it will be amazing.

  4. szoutewelle Says:

    Hi Alison nice to hear from you.
    I just started the painting tonight, it is looser than my other ones. The aim is a non-chalant decorative overall effect rather than a precision botannical painting of each flower!

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