1825 French Serpent Forveille in B-flat at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York - From the curators' comments: "The serpent, a wide bass brass horn with finger holes that evolved at the end of the sixteenth century, gained importance in band music during the second half of the eighteenth century. Thenceforth, the serpent's unwieldy shape was either modified or converted to upright forms."
Clavicytheria, or upright harpsichords, were made as early as the 15th century, but tall examples such as this date from the late Baroque era. Having 2 sets of doors that conceal the strings, the case appears ungainly when open, but when closed it has a graceful outline embellished by gilded "wings" and stops control 2 sets of strings. The mechanism has been altered and the painted soundboard is a replacement; originally the instrument may have been an upright piano.