In October the Museum welcomed the addition of the 1704 Edward Blunt English spinet harpsichord copy by master builder David Hackett of Chelveston, UK. This small spinet is a very close copy of the original, which was first exhibited publicly in 1885 at the International Invention Exposition, and then disappeared until 2014, when Hackett purchased it at auction. It was made in part or in whole by an apprentice to Blunt, Thomas Hitchcock, among the most famous spinet builders and whose spinets, and those of his son, would travel to America in colonial times.
This copy follows the footsteps of the original in every respect, using the same woods, in the same ways, as the original, and allows us the opportunity to hear the original and the copy side by side. Maintaining a remarkably similar tone, it is not surprising that small irregularities caused by 300 years of aging and exposure are completely absent in the copy – the new one is a pleasure to play without the concerns of problems during a concert. For this reason a second copy remains in England with David, and we are delighted to have this as an example of a very early English spinet, just before they began to grow larger. The marquetry construction was cut in South Carolina and sent to Hackett to use in both copies, so it is a delightful cooperative effort and we are indebted to David Hackett for donating the entire instrument to the museum as a generous gift!