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Double virginal Ioannes Ruckers

chordophone

The Antwerp's family Ruckers is among the most renowned harpsichord makers. Between 1580 and 1680, their workshop produced various models of harpsichords and virginals. One of the most amazing is the so-called "mother with child" (de moeder met het kind). It consists of two virginals: a large one called "the mother" and a smaller one called "the child".

The child is normally housed in the mother's womb, i.e. in the mother's box to the left of the keyboard. The two virginals can either be played separately by two musicians side by side or jointly by one. In this case, the child - the bottom of which is cut out of an opening - is placed on the mother so that the mother's keyboard play is communicated to that of the child. The mother's sound is thus combined with the child's higher-pitched sound.

This double virginal built in 1610 was modified over time. The range of its keyboards was enlarged and the original decorations were updated several times. During its restoration in 2017, successive layers of paint were removed from the child, highlighting the original printed papers decorated with scrolls and medallions with human and animal heads. The mother's last decoration - an imitation of mahogany wood - painted, following the analysis of the pigments, in the course of the 19th century- is preserved. The soundboards of both mother and child were carefully cleaned, revealing delicate floral motifs - iris, tulip, rose, daisy, strawberry blossoms - mixed with a few berries and a star.

 

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Double virginal Ioannes Ruckers, Antwerp, 1610, inv. 0275
Double virginal Ioannes Ruckers (mother), Antwerp, 1610, inv. 0275
Double virginal Ioannes Ruckers (mother), soundboard, Antwerp, 1610, inv. 0275
Double virginal Ioannes Ruckers (child), Antwerp, 1610, inv. 0275
Double virginal Ioannes Ruckers (child), soundboard, Antwerp, 1610, inv. 0275
Double virginal Ioannes Ruckers (child), Antwerp, 1610, inv. 0275
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