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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 26th May
Martyna's Farewell Recital
London Conference May 28th
Programme and Final Week of Registration
The Finchcocks Sale
The Broadwood Piano Festival - Broadwood's Folly!
Martyna's Farewell Recital
The Finchcocks Sale - 11th May
By any standards, this was a major sale of Early Keyboard Instruments. Dreweatts made a big effort to give it worldwide publicity, and the auctioneers worked hard on the day.
By my calculation, the total of hammer-prices was £670,745. Analysis of the sale of nearly a hundred instruments is more than this little website can cope with, but I will offer a few highlights.
We are Friends of Square Pianos after all, so perhaps my favourite was £2,600 paid for an 1835 Collard & Collard - 26 times estimate! And a memorable comment (referring to another lot) from the auctioneer: "One thousand nine hundred pounds for a Broadwood square piano - it's not often that I get to say that during one of our regular furniture sales!"
Then a rather ordinary (but pretty) Brinsmead upright sold for £4,000, against an estimate of £200 - £400. But it did belong to Vesta Tilley.
On a more serious note, the most important lots did well, with many achieving three or four times the estimate. The highest price, I think, was £80,000 for the lovely Antunes harpsichord.
In the middle ground, and possibly my personal favourite, the Mahoon spinet was surely good value at £8,500.
There were two important early squares. Opening the show at Lot 1 was the 1777 Beyer; we will never forget Martyna's recital on this one on a beautiful spring evening exactly two years ago. Against a tempting estimate of £1,500 - £2,500, this achieved a reasonable hammer-price of £5,500. And the earliest piano in the Collection, the 1769 Zumpe, achieved more than twice estimate at £8,500.
So an excellent result, which will be put towards the future work of the Finchcocks Charity. Congratulations to Katrina and Dick.
As I said, far too much for me to discuss here (although I will add a bit more) so please see the full results on Drewatt's website
The Broadwood Piano Festival
4th - 5th June
See, hear, and play Queen Victoria's piano! This handsome instrument, built in 1858, made a few visits to Buckingham Palace on hire, until in 1870 the Queen retained it permanently in 'The Prince Consort's Room', where it remained until after her death in 1901. It is not a showy instrument, but Prince Albert was a musician of some ability, and was not given to ostentation, so this was his sort of piano. It was in the Broadwood Collection for some time, before going to Finchcocks when the collection was dispersed . Now that much of the Fincocks Collection is to be sold, it is fitting that this one has been returned to John Broadwood and Sons at their new home in Lythe, near Whitby.
The Broadwood Piano festival will take place at Lythe Village Hall from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. on 4th and 5th June. All kinds of Broadwood pianos will be on show, squares, grands, and uprights, including one of my favourites, a 1793 model. There will be music all day on both days.
Refreshments will be available in the pub next door, and will feature the excellent English wines from Denbies.
These are appropriately called 'Broadwood's Folly': Adjacent to the vineyard is a folly built by Thomas Broadwood in 1818, to celebrate victory at the Battle of Waterloo. Or something like that. (For those unable to go to the Festival, the wines are exclusively available at Lidl. There is also a white, but my local branch had sold out.)
For more details, please contact Alastair Laurence on his mobile number 07770 772233. (Sorry, he does not do email).
We will always remember Martyna Kazmierczak's enchanting playing at our Finchcocks parties.
She has just launched her own website - make it one of your favourites for regular visits:
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 case, soundboard, and keyboard are now complete, and the marquetry and calligraphy hane been applied to the nameboard.
Please see the Spinet Page for the latest news of this enjoyable project.
This is the time of year when I have usually been busy working on the plans for the Friends of Square Pianos Finchcocks weekend - confirming speakers and the programme, arranging the performances, ensuring practical support, and sending out the invitations and reminders.
It seems strange that this is not happening any more, and that there will never again be another 'Finchcocks'. But this is a time to remember the parties that we enjoyed, and to offer our thanks to Richard and Katrina Burnett for their wonderful creation that gave so much enjoyment to so many for the forty-five years it was open. We wish them the very best for the next chapter in their lives. Long may they continue to make, enjoy music, and to encourage young musicians and their interest in early keyboard instruments. We will keep in touch.
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.
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..
My real work is with homeless cats now, though - I have the privilege to be Co-ordinator of the local voluntary branch of Cats Protection.