Pedal harp

George Cousineau (1733-1800) was one of the leading harp makers of his day, and enjoyed royal patronage as harp-maker in ordinary to Queen Marie Antoinette (1755-1793) from 1775. His harps were usually fitted with seven pedals, like this example, that operated a series of béquilles or double levers which enabled each string to be raised a semi-tone more accurately than had been previously possible. Cousineau's surviving harps were lavishly carved and painted, and would have been thought highly suitable for the salons of Paris in the decades leading up to the French Revolution in 1789.