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 email@example.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 4th December
Piano Auctions Next Sale Thursday December 15th, and Meeting of Friends of Square Pianos Wednesday December 14th More Pictures Added
Invitation to Tea with Luke Bradley
'Faveryear' piano c. 1800 at Gardiner Houlgate - More information
1664 And All That - Our Spinet Day 2017
Piano Auctions Next Sale Thursday December 15th, and Meeting of Friends of Square Pianos Wednesday December 14th More Pictures Added.
We look forward to our traditional gathering of Friends of Square pianos on Wednesday 14th December, the viewing day before the sale. We will meet from about 11.00 onwards, either in Conway Hall itself (Red Lion Square, Holborn) or in the cafe in the square. After looking at the instruments, we will adjourn to the nearby Dolphin pub for beer and chips. I know that some of the 'usual suspects' will be there, and it would be good to meet new Friends as well - please come along if you possibly can.
Our friend Luke Bradley has just moved into a flat quite near to Holborn, and he has very kindly invited all of us to accompany him to his new home in the afternoon.
The highlight of the sale for us will be a piano from perhaps the best of the first generation of makers, Adam Beyer.
Please see the Auction Page for more details of this, and the other instruments in the sale.
'Faveryear' c. 1800 at Gardiner Houlgate
The first of the December specialist auctions will be at Gardiner Houlgate, Corsham, on Thursday 8th.
It's always good to learn something new, and this is the first piano that I have seen bearing the name 'Faveryear'. However, our friend Tim has discovered some references. This was surely Henry Faveryear, described as a musical instrument maker, but (like Longman & Broderip and others) really a dealer. A flute by him (with a Tower Hill address) survives, and he appears in Érard's ledger as a purchaser. He was apparently an agent for Clementi, but this does not look like a Clementi piano. He is reported to be in St Petersburg in 1803, but planning to return to London.
Please see the Auction Page for more details.
English Spinet c. 1760 - Sold
The English spinet was in many ways the ancestor of the square piano, and a number of famous makers including Haxby, Culliford and Kirckman made both. We all know by now that English spinets are my favourite instruments, not only for their beauty of tone and form, but also because they are practical to maintain, and much lighter than pianos!
It is quite rare that an opportunity arises to buy an original instrument. Please see the Instruments for Sale page for more details of this one.
1770 Pohlman Sold at Auction
It is worth keeping our eyes on the non-specialist auctions around the country. This delightful 1770 Pohlman was sold at Tennants on Saturday 8th October.
The pianos of Johann Christoph Zumpe were the first to achieve fame in England, but his compatriot Johannes Pohlman (one 'n', please) was not far behind. There are those who say that his pianos are rather better made, and less prone to the dreaded 'twist'. Please admire the decorative brasswork on this one. It does need some work, but it will be a beautiful little piano.
The auction estimate for this one was a modest £70, but the action began with a commission bid of £500, and after a late intervention on the telephone the hammer fell at £2,400.
1664 And All That - Our Spinet Day 2017
Why '1664'? Please see the Spinet Day page to find out.
We all miss our Finchcocks parties very much, so we are pleased to announce that there will be a Friends of Square Pianos event in April next year, in the form of a celebration of the English Spinet. This will be in Chelveston, Northamptonshire, and there will be a group of spinets assembled, with the opportunity for everybody to play them. We are hoping to have a world-famous harpsichord player to entertain us. There will be three short talks, but mostly it's an opportunity for us to meet informally and to share good food.
Please see the Spinet Day page for full details, and let me know as soon as you can if you would be interested in joining the party.
New CD Release
I'm always happy to feature Friends' recordings on this website, especially if they are on square pianos! This one by Medea Bindewald is remarkable in bringing to us the music of the little-known composer Jacob Kirkman, a nephew of our most famous harpsichord maker. It is also notable as one of the last recordings made at Finchcocks. The 'Crowdfunding' campaign has now been successfully completed.
Please see the Friends' Recordings page for more details.
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.
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..