Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Harpsichord converted to a piano

Jean Goermans (Dutch, active France, Gelden, The Netherlands 1703–1777 Paris)
Paris, France
Wood, paint, gilding, polychrome, gilded pewter, ebony, bone, felt
Height (without lid): 36 7/8 in. (93.6 cm) Width (parallel to keyboard): 36 3/4 in. (93.3 cm) Depth (perpendicular to keyboard): 95 3/16 in. (241.7 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Susan Dwight Bliss, 1944
Accession Number:
Not on view
Even when harpsichords went out of fashion in the last years of the 18th century, many were too valuable or beautiful to be discarded. This example, originally a harpsichord with two keyboards and three sets of strings, was ingeniously converted to a piano by removing the upper keyboards and replacing the original jack action with a primitive hammer action. The chinoiserie inside the lid shows musicians playing various real and fantastic instruments, among them a two-manual harpsichord.
Marking: (on nameboard in black letters on gold band) Ioannes Goermans Me Fecit Parisis 1754; (painted around rose) Ioannes Goermans
Susan Dwight Bliss ; Jeanette Dwight Bliss ; L. Decloux (until March, 1911)
Makers of the Piano, 1700-1820. Oxford University Press. Oxford, UK, 1993, pg. 123.

"Keyboard Instruments." Summer. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (1989), Vol. 47, No. 1, pg. 26, ill.

Historical Pianos, Clavichords and Harpsichords. N. E. Michel, Publisher. Pico Rivera, CA, 1970, pg. 78, ill.

Keyboard Instruments in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Picture Book. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1961, pg. 30-31, fig. 16, ill.

"Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin - June 1950." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (1950), pg. 305, ill.

"Additions to the Collection of Musical Instruments." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (1946), vol. IV, no.10, pg. 256, 257, 258, ill.

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