Italian Single Manual Harpsichord

Description (Brief)
This instrument was made by an unknown maker in Italy, in the late 18th century. It is a single manual harpsichord with a compass of GG - f3 (no GG#), and a disposition of 2 x 8’. The harpsichord has a fir soundboard, and ebony naturals with ivory arcades and ebony and bone wedge accidentals. The nameboard is decorated with ebony and ivory inlay and has a false signature on the lower part of the name board that is inscribed: “IONNES ANTONIVS BAFFO VENETUS F.M ADLXXXI.”
The inseparable outer case is made of poplar painted with urns, fruit and musical instruments. The interior of the lid is painted with a landscape with dancing and seated figures with a building on the right side and a sea chariot. The stand is made of elaborately carved and gilded wood. The decoration of the exterior is not original and likely applied to the instrument when it passed through the workshop of Leopoldo Franciolini.
This instrument has no features in common with instruments by Baffo. Ongoing research indicates that this instrument displays characteristics similar to instruments by Venetian maker, Ignazio Mucciardi. There is a signed and dated Mucciardi instrument in the Museo Nazionale degli Strumenti Musicali in Rome.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
late 18th century
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
metal (overall material)
paint (overall material)
place made
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Music & Musical Instruments
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Musical Instruments
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Hugo Worch
Additional Media

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