About This Project

Harpsichord of the Castle of Thoiry (France).

This harpsichord was performed around 1733 by François-Etienne Blanchet for “the beautiful Angélique”, Lady of Thoiry (where the story about his life adds a certain pedigree to this instrument).

Everything goes back to 30 years ago, when a great expert, watching the movie “Paris Brûle-t-il?”, Saw in a scene this harpsichord. He informed his specialist friends, that the harpsichord that had shone in the film was undoubtedly an unknown “Blanchet”. Once they knew about the knowledge that the scene had been filmed in Thoiry, the specialists visited the castle, where they were impressed with their discoveries, the harpsichord was a Blanchet, founder of a famous dynasty of clavicenist makers. It was a unique piece, it had never been restored since the 18th century, it had maintained its mechanics, kept its original strings and was decorated with magnificent musical monkeys painted by Christophe Huet in 1773 (the famous monkeys of Thoiry). This type of painting is called “Singerie”, which consists of the representation of scenes starring monkeys, with human attitudes.

Today, this key is still not restored. Due to its great singularity in the world, it was decided not to restore it and it is preserved as an intact piece for fear of altering elements that carry the secrets to get the sonorities of the original music.

As an anecdote, in the nineteenth century, the owners of this castle, had Frédéric Chopin as a private piano teacher (Can you aspire to more?), Hosted in the castle, where they found in the attic several scores signed by this composer . Undoubtedly, here you can appreciate the importance of music in this castle. To this day there are still numerous concerts of ancient music, where musical encounters take place around the famous Blanchet as a spectator.

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