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 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 21st February 2017

 

Gardiner Houlgate Auction 17th March

 

 

A Fine Collard & Collard  For Sale

 

Restoring Keyboard Instrument Cases

with Bruce Luckhurst

 

Music in the Home Festival, Penhow

 

Spinet Day at Chelveston, April 8th

Another Spinet Promised

 

 

Gardiner Houlgate Auction 17th March

This very pretty Longman & Broderip harpsichord is one of three exceptional  instruments in the next Gardiner Houlgate sale.  More details on the Auction Page.

A Fine Collard & Collard For Sale

When buying a square piano, we should consider not only the initial price, but the money and time that need to be spent in order to bring it to the condition we would wish.  This fine example of a late square piano is perhaps the best Collard and Collard I have ever seen.  Please see the Sale Page for details.

Restoring Keyboard Instrument Cases

with Bruce Luckhurst

Saturday 11 March 2017: 10.30am – 4.30pm
at The Piano Shop. Eridge, Kent TN3 9JR  
(with kind permission by Nigel Scaife)
In conjunction with THE FINCHCOCKS CHARITY FOR EDUCATION
 
(for full information of the BAFRA Course, booking details and prices
please refer to BAFRA website)
 
Bruce Luckhurst is Chairman of BAFRA, the national organisation of craftsmen engaged in furniture conservation and restoration.
He is a leading and distinguished figure in these skills, and has been head of woodwork at West Dean College as well as teaching in the UK and the USA.
He was part of the original team of craftspeople working at Finchcocks in the Adlam Burnett Historical Keyboard Instruments company, and has been closely associated with restoration of the casework of the collection since then. He is now one of the founder members of the technical team of specialists involved with The Finchcocks Charity for Musical Education.

Music in the Home Festival, Penhow,

near Newport, Monmouthshire

Please see the PDF for details of this interesting festival, featuring clavichord, spinet, and two square pianos.

Music in the Home Festival 2017 Flyer.pd[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [391.2 KB]

A Special Appeal  - Update Day 21

    Sadly, we have lost another little one, but it turns out that he had a serious internal malformation, and could not possibly have survived.  one of the little ones.  Two more kittens have arrived, but again they are struggling for survival because the mother is so weak.

  Some sadness, then, but many of the cats are showing remarkable improvements, and are starting to run about and play.  More eye and dental operations have taken place. 

  We are realising that because the cats and kittens have had so little experience except their own company, they have a strong dependency on their friends.  This is unusual for adult cats.  The youngest of the kittens will probably develop normally, but it seems likely that the adult cats will need to be homed in pairs at least.

 

  More operations (including to eyes) will take place throughout this week. Special thanks to Higham Vets, who are working so hard with us.

  Most of the eye problems are probably the result of untreated 'cat-flu' viruses.  As we will need so many drops and ointments for these conditions, and for a long time, we have been able to do a deal with the manufacturers for direct supply to the vets, which will be a significant saving.  

  Otherwise, all of the cats are withdrawn and quiet, but some are starting to pick up.  After having been malnourished for so long, nearly all have digestive problems.  Without going into too much detail, let's just say that we are getting through a lot of litter and cleaning materials.

 

  Thank you to Friends who have already donated - this will go on for some time!

(Original appeal below)

  As all frequent visitors to the site know, it is my privilege to lead a team of volunteers, the Wellingborough & Rushden branch of Cats Protection (Registered Charity number 203644).  We are part of the national charity, but as a local voluntary branch we are mostly self-funding.

  In the ten years or so of Friends of Square Pianos, I think I have only ever made one direct appeal for help, but we are faced with an exceptional situation just now. On Tuesday night (it was raining) we were called out to a house from which a woman was being evicted.  We were told that there were about twenty cats in the house, which was to be boarded up at 8.00 on the following morning. When we got there, we found that there were actually 56 cats and kittens, all in a poor state, with eyes missing and all sorts of other problems.  Some of the cats were quite old, some of the kittens new-born.  Some are probably too poorly to save, but we will do our best for all of them. At the very least, we will have a bill for neutering, microchipping, vaccinating, and treating for worms and fleas for up to 56 cats.  There will also be expensive operations for many of them.  Many of the pictures I do not want to show you, but we are hoping to save at least one eye for this poor little fella.

  What is amazing is that although most of the cats are in discomfort or pain, and all are in poor condition, they are all loving and affectionate, and just want to be cuddled.  Those that we can save – nearly all of them, we hope – will make wonderful pets. 

  So we will be having a very big bill from the vets!  Not to mention food, litter, etc…  I will give updates of progress on this page as the situation develops

  If you have any questions at all, please email me, David, on friends.sp@btinternet.com

  If you would like to help with a donation, please use the PayPal button below.  This will take card payments if you do not have a PayPal account of your own, and every penny will go directly towards those vets’ bills.  Thank you.  

Spinet Day April 8th

  The highlight of our year will be our Spinet Day, to be held at Chelveston (Northamptonshire) on Saturday April 8th.  As you would expect from Friends of Square Pianos, it will be an informal and sociable day, with plenty of opportunity to chat and make new friends, and to enjoy playing the instruments.  There will be a few 'experts' there, but it is primarily a day for those who are relatively new to the world of these lovely instruments.   Plans are still being developed, but already it seems that this will be the largest gathering of spinets (about a dozen?) since the International Inventions Exhibition of 1885.  It is a nice touch that two of the instruments that were in the 1885 show will now be re-united.  The Hitchcock number 1460 is one of them, and the internationally famous harpsichord specialist Alan Cuckston will be playing this one (and others) for us.  

 

Latest News

We are pleased to announce that the leading spinet-maker Stephen Robinson will be joining the party, and bringing with him one of his replica 'Hitchcock' instruments, based on the example in the Russell Collection, Edinburgh.  Stephen is a regular exhibitor at the London Early Music Show.

 

Not all spinets were made in London!  We will be delighted to welcome a spinet by the famous York maker Thomas Haxby.

 

  Please see the Spinet Day April  2017 page for details.  More will be added as the programme evolves.  

 

  The list is filling up nicely, but there are still places.  If you would like to come, please let me know as soon as possible.  

 

Please email me, David, on   friends.sp@btinternet.com

 

Questions, comments, and suggestions will be very welcome.

New CD Now Released

Jacob Kirkman, Lessons and Sonatas
Medea Bindewald (harpsichord, square piano), with Nicolette Moonen (violin)
This recording features the nearly forgotten composer Jacob Kirkman (1746–1812), a nephew of the famous London harpsichord maker of the same name. His delightful lessons and sonatas are representative of the musical taste in post-Handelian London. Medea Bindewald plays a 1756 double manual harpsichord by the composer’s uncle Jacob Kirckman and a 1795 square piano by Broadwood & Son, both from the Finchcocks Collection in Kent, England. The variety of different sounds presented on this CD is enhanced by including Kirkman’s works written in the unique and nowadays much-neglected genre of keyboard repertoire with a violin accompaniment, played here by Nicolette Moonen. This is one of the very last recordings made at Finchcocks Musical Museum before its closure.
To order the CD or listen to a sound sample: 

Making a Spinet - The 1704 Blunt Replica 

  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