Johann Heinrich Hemsch was born in 1700 in the village of Castenholz near Cologne. After he had moved to Paris at the age of 28, he was apprenticed to Antoine Vatter, a well known harpsichord maker, who had also emigrated from Germany.
Under his adopted French name of Jean Henri Hemsch, he and his younger brother Guillaume gained a high reputation in Paris as makers of instruments. Jean Henri Hemsch died in 1769.
Five of his two-manual harpsichords are still preserved. J.C. NEUPERT made a copy, true to the original of the harpsichord built by Johann Heinrich Hemsch in 1754, which is today in the possession of the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum in Munich. The instrument is one of the few left in its original state and is still in playable condition..
Mr. C. Mercier-Ythier, the former owner of the instrument, describes the sound of this instrument as follows: „It possesses a well-rounded sonority in the bass, a warm tone in middle range and very clear treble, which never sounds aggressive. This makes it one of the most beautiful harpsichords, both in the tonal and in the aesthetic sense...“