The name of Ruckers is as important to early keyboard instruments as Stradivarius is to strings. This book describes in close detail the art and technique of the Ruckers family, who produced harpsichords and virginals throughout a period of over 100 years. Dr O'Brien provides detailed information about the construction and decoration of Ruckers harpsichords and virginals, as well as the numbering, pitch, stringing, and the determination of the original state of their instruments. Like Stradivarius violins, Ruckers instruments were later altered, and the nature and musical significance of these alterations are discussed, as is the influence of the Ruckers style on later building practice. The instruments in their original and altered states are considered in relation to the music of the time and to contemporary performance practice. The text is richly illustrated with diagrams and pictures of original instruments, and with plan-view photographs reproduced at a scale of 1:10. The book also contains a partially illustrated catalogue of authentic and fake instruments, followed by extensive appendices.