Please remember that, as with 'Pianos for Sale', I have not usually seen these pianos, and any comments I make may be based entirely on information supplied by the auctioneers, or what we can see from the pictures.
Piano Auctions Next Sale Thursday December 15th, and Meeting of Friends of Square Pianos Wednesday December 14th
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.
This example dates from 1779, and it is an encouraging sign that it was restored by Andrew Lancaster some years ago. The estimate for this one is £1,500 - £2,000 - it should do well.
Then we have a clavichord by Thomas Goff and Joseph Cobby, made in 1934. The quality of Cobby's cabinet-making is in a league of its own. I do hope that there will be enough 'hush' so that its voice may be heard!
The estimate for this one is £800 - £1.200.
Next is another 'modern' instrument by a remarkable maker who deserves a place in history in his own right - Alec Hodsdon of Lavenham. This virginal dates from Coronation Year, 1953. Some of us remember it well!
Estimate £600 - £800.
Then finally a five-octave de Blaise harpsichord in a mahogany case.
As we see, the traditional shape has been compromised to allow for more compact dimensions, and it presumably has covered bass strings. These instruments are not fashionable these days, but they are well-made and reliable, and a good proposition for schools and amateur concerts, where a more delicate and valuable instrument might be vulnerable.
Estimate £600 - £800.
All pictures courtesy of Piano Auctions Ltd.
For full catgalogue see www.pianoauctions.co.uk
Specialist Musical Instrument Auction
Thursday 8th December
A nice-looking early nineteenth-century piano in Gardiner Houlgate's next auction, and a new name for me...
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.
Everything seems to be in original condition - probably the damper-cover is missing.
There is a leaf-spring to hold down the 'shelf' which is presumably hinged to allow the dampers to be lifted, but there are no handstops, and no evidence of a pedal. The 'extra notes' arrangement of the top section of the 5½-octave compass, and the frets in the nameboard, do suggest a date just after 1800.
This piano carries a serial number of 2278 (stamped in the front left corner) which seems high for a previously unrecorded name. Was 'Faveryear' possibly a dealer, and the serial number part of someone else's sequence?
The estimate for this interesting (and unique?) piano is £600 - £1,000.