By the early 1600s, Antwerp was the main centre of harpsichord production in Europe, and the leading makers were the Ruckers family. Ruckers harpsichords were renowned for their beautiful tone and decoration. They were cherished and kept for generations, even if many surviving examples, including this one, were subsequently altered in order to keep up with the latest musical fashions. This instrument had long been associated with the composer George Frederick Handel (1685-1759), although it is now doubtful whether he ever owned it.