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A LOUIS XVI FRUITWOOD, VERNIS-MARTIN AND PARCEL-GILT SINGLE-ACTION PEDAL HARP
A LOUIS XVI FRUITWOOD, VERNIS-MARTIN AND PARCEL-GILT SINGLE-ACTION PEDAL HARP

STAMPED COUSINEAU [RUE POULIES PARIS], CIRCA 1780

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A LOUIS XVI FRUITWOOD, VERNIS-MARTIN AND PARCEL-GILT SINGLE-ACTION PEDAL HARP Stamped Cousineau [rue poulies paris], circa 1780 With a molded column headed by an acanthus scroll and floral sprays, the sound board pierced with clusters of sound holes and decorated with mirrored trophies and floral wreaths above Chinoiserie figures playing musical instruments in a garden setting, with a deep harmonic curve, on a foliate-carved base with a guilloche serpentine edge, lacking strings, the cresting cracked

Lot Essay

Jacques-Georges Cousineau (1760-1824) was the most important French harp-maker of the eighteenth century and came from a celebrated family of harpists and harp makers. In 1775 Cousineau was appointed the Luthier-in-Ordinary to Queen Marie-Antoinette. From 1780 to 1811 he was also a harpist at the Paris Opera and published a Method for harp in 1784. The Cousineaus also made some improvements to the mechanism of the harp that included an important innovation of tuning the instrument in such a way that it could play in all keys.

Cousineau harps can be found in most major museum collections including the Victoria and Albert Museum, London and Empress Josephine's harp at Malmaison. A harp by Cousineau with similar carving but a more restrained decoration to the sound board is in the collection of Metropolitan Museum of Art, ill. in A Checklist of European Harps in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Department of Musical Instruments, New York, 1979, p. 9. Another similar harp was sold Christie's Monaco, 22 June 1991, lot 111.

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