Gregori Italian Harpsichord 1786.
Technical drawings of this harpsichord are currently available from Marc Vogel Harpsichords, Germany. 
The photographs below were taken by Peter Barnes on a recent visit to see the instrument.

Readers may be interested in the following email correspondence regarding this instrument:

Good morning Peter,
I'm Giulio Fratini, Italian harpsichord maker. 
My workshop is in Fermo, near Sant'Elpidio a Mare, home of the Gregori family.
I have spent a lot of time studying this family and have also published a long article about them.
I have seen the photos of the Gregori from the J. Barnes collection that you have published on your site and I have also seen on facebook that you are making a copy of this.
I wanted to ask you something: the pluming I see in your photos is in delrin, do you think it was originally like that or was it leather? I always see that the tongues, if original) have been corrected with wooden wedges...
Most of the Gregori instruments I'm studying have original leather pluming.
Are there any photos of this instrument before it was restored to its original state with the jacks?
The precious thing about this specimen is that it has kept its original aesthetics including the square section (not turned) horses typical of the Gregori.
I also point out that I have updated the "Gregori" word on the online Boalch-Mould. In the update you will find irrefutable proof that the correct date for the Gregori you are copying is not 1736 but rather 1786 (the 8 was misread for a 3).
In 1736 Elpidio was only 11 years old!
In recent years I have studied three other unpublished Gregori and they are all dated between 1772 and 1799.
Surely the way of building still linked to the late seventeenth century (our land has always been half a century behind Roma and Napoli) and the absence of archival studies has led many scholars into error in the past, even backdating the Ex-Finchcocks instrument from a century earlier (1697 instead of 1797)!

A greeting


Dear Giulio,

Thank you very much for your helpful email. There is a lot in it for me to absorb, especially the date. We have a similar thing with Swedish clavichord, which were made well into the 19th century.

I built my first harpsichord aged 13, from a kit, with a lot of help from my father but I can see this is unlikely to be the case with the Elpidio Gregori, who would have been a respectable 61 years old in 1786. I would very much like to see your writings about the family.

Regarding the leather plectra, I do not know if the tongues were modified for leather rather than quill. The interest in using leather plectra has increased again recently, but I haven't had very good results when I have tried it. I prefer quill or delrin. 

There is evidence of a 4' bridge on our Gregori and I am wondering if that was the original disposition? My late father replaced a section of wrestplank where the tuning pins are some time in 1940-60 but we don't have photos prior to this.

Have you any idea who our harpsichord could have been made for? The lack of decoration and the charming simple stand has always been a puzzle to me. 

Once again. Thank you so much! 


Dear Peter,
thanks for your reply!

It is impossible that Elpidio could have signed an instrument at the age of 11 simply because the rules of the Stato Pontificio prevented it.
By law, the apprenticeship lasted 8 years and before this period it was not possible to possess the tools to practice the profession and it was not possible to sign the artifacts on pain of imprisonment.
Where he had signed an instrument in 1736 (at age 11) his apprenticeship should have begun at age 3!
Consider that he died at the age of 87 in 1812 and until 1809 he took care of the maintenance and tuning of all 4 organs of Sant'Elpidio a Mare. In 1786 he was still in full strength.

I'm working on an update of my writings on Gregori dating back to 2014 because in the meantime I've discovered a lot of other information and new instruments.
As soon as I'm done, I'll immediately send you my research in pdf!

I'm almost sure that the Gregori practiced the leather plectra almost exclusively (like Mucciardi, Sodi, and numerous other Italian makers of the second half of the eighteenth century).
I'm sending you some photos of three different Gregori with jacks in original condition, all three feathered in leather!

I have no evidence of other Gregori with the presence of a 4' register. There is only one Elpidio Gregori harpsichord in the high octave (2x4') but not 1x8' - 1x4' as yours should be considering that the gap can accommodate only two registers.
The replacement of the front part of the wrestplank is well known from the photos, it is unfortunate that we do not have documentary material of how the instrument was before the restoration.

This type of instruments were mostly built for the musicians and noble families of our area.
The society in the Marca Anconitana (today Marche region) in the second half of the eighteenth century was rather conservative and everything that was created reflected aesthetic standards at least 70/80 years old!
Inside the palaces finto legno (faux wood) was widely used, which imitated exotic essences with painting techniques and in fact the few Gregori that arrived intact from an aesthetic point of view are always on a dark brown background which was the basis on which to paint the finto legno.
The lid inside was always left undecorated because the instruments were played closed as they were intended for rather contained domestic environments (as also happened with the Square pianos which are very often designed to be played with the lid closed).

Does your instrument have pedalboard traces?Almost all gregori cymbals are set up to have a pedalboard.

I'll send you a photo of another instrument from the Marche region (from the mid-17th century) which has the cassa levatora and stands probably made by the Gregori family and is aesthetically very similar to yours!

I read from Boalch that on your instrument there is an inscription relating to Giovanni Battista Mannocchi, can you confirm this? I know this figure of organist and chapel master, member of a noble family of Petritoli whose descendants still exist today and I know personally.

One last question: do you happen to have any material on Nicola Gregori which is at the Schubert Club in St. Paul, Minnesota?
I tried several times to get in contact with them but I never received a response ...

Sorry for my English which won't be good to read.. unfortunately I don't speak English well otherwise I would have phoned you to discuss better.