|At the end of the 1500's, the Ruckers family in
Antwerp began building harpsichords. The instruments were built of thicker wood
than the early Italians, mostly of poplar. The sound was not quite as
penetrating as the Italian, sustained better, and had a distinct "bloom".
The Ruckers school represented perhaps the greatest of all harpsichord makers. The family (which included the makers Hans, Ioannes, and Andreas Ruckers, and Jan Couchet) made instruments whose sound was so valued that they were refashioned, especially in France, into the more complex instruments of the next century. Even the soundboard of a virginal, built into a later harpsichord, could double its price (though probably not without a certain degree of deception). This instrument is by Couchet, dated 1645.