GIROLAMO ZENTI (Viterbo c.1609 -
* 1 Biography * 2 Zenti and the bentside spinet * 3 Surviving instruments * 4 See also * 5 References * 6 Sources * 7 External links
Information on Zentis life is fragmentary and spread wide. Zenti was born in Viterbo, near Rome, and was registered as an instrument maker in the papal capital by 1638. He was apprentice to Giovani Battista Boni , and took over the workshop at the latter's death in 1641. He took a commission at the Swedish court in 1653, serving Queen Christina for several years. He took an Organ building project in Rome in 1660, but left the instrument unfinished for Paris. By 1664 he was in service at the newly restored English court of Charles II . He received the title of The King's virginal maker, but was back in Rome before the year was out. Two years later he was again in Paris, where he died in 1666. At some point he was probably in service of the Medici family in Florence, for an inventory made at Cristofori 's arrival there in 1700 lists six Zenti instruments.
ZENTI AND THE BENTSIDE SPINET
It is not proven that Zenti invented the bentside spinet, but the earliest existing bentside spinet (1631) is by Zenti, and the instrument became popular, especially in Britain, after his travels there. The final clue giving this theory support is that in France the bentside spinet was called: espinette á l'italienne.
No instruments from his time in northern Europe have been discovered,
but around a dozen instruments from Italy have been attributed to him,
although only two with certainty, a bentside spinet and a harpsichord.
The most famous is without doubt the 1631 bentside spinet now in
Brussels. A true inner instrument of thinwalled cypress in an ornate
outer box, single scale in brass. A harpsichord, now preserved at
Metropolitan Museum of Art