Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/208

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196

��RUCKERS.

��Andries was admitted as a master in the Guild in 161 1 ; and that he was employed to tune the organ of St. Jacques from 163 1 until 1642. There is also evidence as to his having died in that year, and not the father, who would seem to have died before.

Mr. Vander Straeten has however brought us nearer Hans the younger, by reference to Sains- bury's collection of ' Original unpublished papers illustrative of the life of Sir Peter Paul Rubens' (London, 1859, p. 208 etc.), wherein are several letters which passed in 1638 between the painter Balthazar Gerbier, at that time at Brussels, and the private secretary of Charles I., Sir F. Winde- bank. They relate to the purchase of a good virginal from Antwerp for the King of England. Be it remembered that up to this time, and even as late as the Restoration, all clavecins in England, long or square, were called Virginals. [See VIR- GINAL.] Gerbier saw one that had been made by Hans Ruckers the younger ('Johannes Rickarts'), for the Infanta. He describes it as having a double keyboard placed at one end, and four stops ; exactly what we should now call a double harpsi- chord. There were two paintings inside the cover, the one nearest the player by Rubens ; the subject Cupid and Psyche. The dealer asked 30 for it, such instruments without paintings being priced at 15. After some correspond- ence it was bought and sent over. Arrived in London it was found to be wanting 6 or 7 keys, and to be insufficient for the music, 1 and Gerbier was requested to get it exchanged for one with larger compass. Referring to the maker, Gerbier was informed that he had not another on sale and that the instrument could not be altered. So after this straightforward but rather gruff an- swer Gerbier was written to not to trouble himself further about it. Mr. Vander Straeten enquires what has become of this jewel ? We agree with him that the preservation of the pictures has probably long since caused the destruction of the instru- ment. With such decoration it would hardly re- main in a lumber room. Mr. Vander Straeten himself possesses a Jean Ruckers single harpsi- chord, restored by M. Ch. Meerens, of which he has given a heliotype illustration in his work. It is a splendid specimen of Hans the younger.

Andries Ruckers (the elder, to distinguish him from his son Andries), the third son of Hans, was, as we have said, baptized in 1579, and perhaps became a master in 1611. It is certain that in 1619 a clavecin was ordered from him, for the reunions and dramatic representations of the guild and purchased by subscription. As a member of the confraternity of the Holy Virgin in the cathedral he was tuning the chapel organ gratuitously in 1644. His work, spite of Bur- ney's impression about the relative excellence of his larger instruments, was held in as great esteem as that of his father and brother, as the above-mentioned commission shows. In 1671, Jean Cox, choirmaster of the cathedral, left by will, as a precious object, an Andr Ruckers clavecin. Handel, many years after, did the

i The Hltchcocks were at this time making spinets in London with five octaves. G G.

��(5.)

���RUCKERS.

same. Within the writer's recollection there have been three honoured witnesses in London to this maker's fame, viz. Handel's (No. 47), dated 1651, given by Messrs. Broadwood to South Kensington Museum ; Col. Hop- kinson's (No. 31) dated 1614; and Miss Twining's, a single keyboard one (No. 45), dated 1640, still at Twickenham. 2 A tradition exists that Handel had also played upon both the last - named instru- ments. We do not know when Andries Ruckers the elder died. He was cer- tainly living in 1651, since that date is on his harpsichord (Han- del's) at South Ken- sington. His roses are here given.

Of Andries Ruckers the younger, the informa- tion is most meagre. Born in 1607, we think he became a master in 1636. The Christian name is wanting to the entry in the ledger, but as the son of a master, the son of Andries the elder is apparently indicated. The researches of M. Ge"nard have proved the birth of a daughter to Hans the younger, but not that of a son. It might be Christopher, could we attribute to him a master for a father. Regarding him, however, as living earlier, we are content to believe that Andries the younger then became free of the Guild; but as his known instruments are of late date it is possible that he worked much with his father. We know from a baptism in 1 665 that the younger Andries had married Catherina de Vriese, per- haps of the family of Dirck or Thierri de Vries, a clavecin-maker whose death is recorded in jfog. ratis (Bio- graphic universelle, 2nd edit, vii., 3466) says he had seen a fine clavecin made by Andries the younger, dated 1667. M. Rd- gibo possesses un- doubted instruments by him, and has sup- plied a copy of his rose

(7). He has done the same for Christopher Ruckers (8), of whose make he owns a specimen. M.Vander

2 This instrument formerly belonged to the Bey. Thomas Twining, Bector of St. Mary, Colchester, who died in 1804. A learned scholar (he translated Aristotle's 'Poetics') and clever musician, he enjoyed the friendship of Burney and valued highly his favourite harpsichord, on which the great Handel had played. Mr. Charles Salaman used both this instrument and Messrs. Broadwood's in his admirable- lectures given in 1855-6 in London and the provinces.

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