Welcome to

Friends of Square Pianos!

This is a sort of on-line club for anyone who owns, or would like to own, a square piano, or possibly a spinet. Or anyone who is just interested, possibly to learn a little more.


Please get in touch with me, David, on friends.sp@btinternet.com with questions, comments, or just to say 'Hello'.  This is a site for everyone, especially those new to the world of Square Pianos.  And of course, we very much appreciate the support of those with more experience.


Update 24th May 2017



Samuel Bury c. 1792 For Sale


UK Domestic Trade in Antique Ivory


New CD from Patrick Hawkins


Tinned Brass Hitchpins


Spinet Day at Chelveston 8th April

Update to Report


Samuel Bury c. 1792 For Sale

 Many of us remember Roy Knowles, who died recently in his 93rd year. In the early 1970s he worked on Broadwood pianos with Alastair Laurence, and shortly afterwards became a full-time restorer.


  Amongst other activities, he carried out the work on Broadwood square piano N° 8119, the subject of the excellent book 'Mrs Findlay's Broadwood Square Piano'  (Michael Hannon, 2015).


  Of all the pianos he worked on, he kept this Samuel Bury instrument for himself, and it is now looking for a new home.  Please see the Sale Page for details.

Trade in Antique Ivory

  Some of us  may have noticed that a UK General Election is approaching, and the Conservative Party Manifesto has now been published.  


  We all retain our commitment to seeing an end to the terrible business of ivory poaching and the illegal trade, but many of us do not share the view that making historic keyboard instruments impossible to sell would help to achieve this.  The 2015 Manifesto contained a commitment to 'a total ban' of all trade in ivory, which if implemented would have reduced the value of thousands of pianos to zero - including not only most nineteenth-century uprights, but even quite nice grands as well.  And square pianos, of course.


  The 2017 Conservative Party Manifesto runs to 88 pages, but as far as I can see there is now no mention of banning the domestic trade in antiques containing ivory.  I have to admit that I have not read the manifestos of the other parties.


  Existing laws continue to apply, of course, so any instrument made after 1947 will still require an Article 10 certificate (proving that the ivory was pre-1947) before it can be sold.  It is my personal view that the use of 'recycled' antique ivory in the construction of a new instrument would be unwise, leading to complications best avoided.


  There is another thing, though.  For most international trade, a CITES certificate is required for ivory of any age.  At present, transfers between countries in the European Community do not require this, but the UK will be leaving the EC in rather less than two years' time.  After that, it is almost certain that CITES certificates will be required, whatever other trade arrangements are made.  We note in passing that certificates are already necessary for trade with Switzerland, Norway, and Jersey and Guernsey.     

New CD from Patrick Hawkins

There are not many recordings featuring square pianos, and we are happy to welcome a new one from our Friend Patrick Hawkins.
"The CD is GS001: Golden Square Records
This is a premiere recording of three sonatas by Giovanni Antonio Matielli (1733-1805). Matielli was a contemporary of Haydn and Mozart in Vienna and his music was highly regarded by Gluck. For the recording, I wanted to feature various square pianos from the time of the music, so you will hear three different squares: Johannes Broadwood (1787), Longman, Clementi and Co. (1799), and Christopher Ganer (c. 1785-90). The first two pianos are in the collection of Tom and Debra Strange and the Ganer square is mine. The Ganer was restored by Michael Cole." 
Details of other Friends' Recordings are on the page of that name.

Broadwood c. 1825 Free to Good Home

This promising restoration project is in Canada - please see the Sale Page for details.

Collard & Collard c 1847 For Sale

Making a return apparance to the Sale Page is this Collard & Collard 'Grand Square' from c. 1849.  It does need to find a new home urgently, so is offered at the bargain price of just £50.  Please see the Sale Page for details.

(Cat not included)

Tinned Brass Hitchpins

The hitchpins on nearly all English square pianos are made from tinned brass, and replacements are often needed.  Until now, it has been difficult to find a source for these, but Andy Durand is now able to offer them.  Those illustrated are 1.5 mm x 25 mm, and the price is £75 per 180. Other sizes are available to order, and Andy will soon be able to offer threaded damper-wires.  


Please contact Andy Durand via his website



Spinet Day at Chelveston, 8th April

Update to Report

  On a glorious spring day, a group of 29 of us gathered in Chelveston for a very enjoyable Spinet Day.  Good company, good food, and good music.  And an assembly of ten spinets, dating from 1704 to 2015.  What more could we ask?  

  An extended (but not final) report is on the Spinet Day page.  This includes PDF downloads of the two talks.

  Some of you may have been following the construction - starting from a pile of wood - of this replica of a remarkable and important instrument.  The spinet is now complete and playing well, and has gone to its new home in Scotland.    

 Please see the Spinet Page for the story.

The Spinet Page

  We all love those beautiful English Spinets, and now they have a Page of their own, where I hope to encourage interest, ownership, and amateur makers.

Square Piano Tech

Please take time to visit our sister website www.squarepianotech.com  This is run by our Friend Tom Strange in America, and is rapidly growing into a treasure-store of permanent wisdom.  

About the 'Webmaster' (David Hackett)

My only claim to respectability is that Carl Dolmetsch once offered to take me on as an apprentice.  This was in 1962, when I had just shown him my first clavichord, and been his guest at Haslemere.  However, he also advised me that it would be better to go to University, and I accepted his advice.  Early Keyboard Instruments have therefore remained a hobby, and now happily retired, I am able to spend a bit more time enjoying them - and encouraging others, I hope..

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© David Hackett